Gameological Q&A

Final Fantasy XII

Games We Don’t Want To End

Let’s not part just yet.

By The Gameological Society Staff • July 31, 2012

Welcome to Gameological Q&A, where we throw out a question for discussion among the staff and readers. It’s extremely similar to The A.V. Club’s AVQ&A feature. You might even say it’s exactly the same. If you have a brilliant question that would make a fun Q&A, send it to brilliantquestions at gameological dot com.

Our inaugural query comes from commenter The Asinus, who emailed this question in before Gameological Q&A even existed—thereby inspiring us to get off our duffs and do this thing. We salute your initiative, Asinus!

I think that we all have a pile of games that we don’t finish because, frankly, they suck. But—and I’m not sure if I’m unique in this—there are games that I don’t finish because I don’t want them to be over. I shelf them until I’ve forgotten exactly where I was or what was going on, and get to start over. I recently replayed Final Fantasy VII and was kind of bummed when I got to the crater at the end of the game even though I’d been there before. One that looms large in this category is Grandia II. I don’t know how close to the end I’ve come (though judging by the magnitude of things happening, pretty close), but I always put the game away and then, probably unconsciously, avoid it for a year or more before the urge to dust off the Dreamcast strikes. Are there any games that you have liked so much that you were actually bummed to see them come to a close instead of excited to see how they end? Have you ever stopped playing a game so that you didn’t have to end it? —The Asinus

John Teti
SSX 3

A lot of role-playing games embody the old saw that the journey is more important than the destination. That’s why it took me years to get to the ending of one of my favorite games, Final Fantasy XII. I’d put it away for months until it felt fresh again, and then I’d revisit all of the different locales, looking for tiny secrets I hadn’t uncovered before. But Asinus’ question applies to other kinds of games, too. For instance, I did the don’t-wanna-finish thing with the beloved snowboarding game SSX 3, honing my skills on lesser slopes before I tried to Destroy The Ültimate Über-Mountain or whatever the hell it was. There are plenty of games that feel too long, but there a few that I wish were even longer, and sometimes you get to take that matter into your own hands.

Steve Heisler

I’ve made no secret on the e-pages of The Gameological Society of my love for Dark Souls. It was one of the most menacing, unforgiving games I’ve ever played, but it also made every action in that game extremely important—especially because at any moment, I could die and have to start a whole thing over. The more I let the feeling of that game sink in, the more I realize it just might be my favorite game of all time, not only for the medieval horror aesthetic, but for that very feeling that around any corner is something so terrifying I simply can’t look away. By the time I was really getting the hang of the game though, it was almost over (the last act is WAY simpler and more direct than everything before), and I found myself wanting that feeling to last. After all, ending the game meant an end to feeling like the mere playing of the game meant something.

Drew Toal

A few favorite games fit here, but Knights Of The Old Republic has to be at the forefront. Like all Star Wars nerds, for years I would immediately consume any piece of trash with George Lucas’s imprimatur, but Knights was something totally different, this impossibly vast game that allowed you to run around doing all this great Jedi stuff—choosing powers, picking the color of your lightsaber, Force-choking your companions. The game compels you to make the choice that all Jedi must one day face. Light or dark. Good or evil. Purple lightning and galaxy-wide domination or exile on a swamp planet. When I got to the point in the game where I had to choose, I shut it off for the first time in what felt like a week straight, went to the bar I worked at in Washington D.C., and surveyed all of my regular bar patrons as to what they thought I should do. After playing so long, the thought of making the wrong choice totally paralyzed me. I think, though, I really just didn’t want the game to end.

Ryan Smith
Crackdown

The biggest thrill of the original Crackdown was your nameless government agent’s slow transformation from above-average asskicker to Incredible Hulk-like superhero. By the time the game asked you to hunt down the last of the three violent street gangs that had taken over Pacific City and assassinate the final kingpin, I was way too enamored of my newfound powers to care. I remember one sublime moment of city-dweller wish fulfillment when, in the heat of road rage, I chased down some smug punk who cut me off in traffic, picked up his flashy sports car over my head, and tossed it like a toy over the side of a bridge into the ocean. I later learned Crackdown had a twist ending that revealed that your agent had been a pawn in a fascist plot to create a “New World Order.” Here I was just wanting to blow lots of stuff up, but as it turns out, my lack of completion of the campaign was morally justified.

Anthony John Agnello

I’m something of an obsessive about finishing games, often plugging away on things I’ve put down years after starting them, intent on seeing the ending. As a result, I’m all too familiar with the end-of-camp melancholy that comes with the looming end of a new favorite. The most infamous in my personal history though is The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time. The first time I wrenched the Master Sword from the Temple Of Time and was shunted seven years into the future, I had no clue I was still near the beginning of the game. I thought that was it, poof, the end of the world, no going back to take care of the tasks I had left undone in Link’s childhood. As a result, I spent hours with the game unsaved, trying to unlock all the masks in the Happy Mask Shop, thinking that somehow that was the secret to unlocking a happier future. Eventually I realized that two thirds of the game were waiting on the other side of that moment, but I’m still impressed with the emotional ferocity of the shift in that game, so strong that it kept me clinging to a measly sidequest.

Joe Keiser

I think it’s interesting that you hear about this inclination a lot more with games than with any other medium—I don’t think anybody who loves, say, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey has shut it down halfway through because they want Alex Winter to toy with Death forever, even though that would be amazing. It’s one of the great strengths of games that a player can build this kind of personal investment in a world and its characters through novel interactions spread across weeks or months. That said, I’ve never felt any desire to pull the plug on a great experience because I wanted more of it. But I understand the sentiment—leaving LucasArt’s late-’90s cult classic Grim Fandango was traumatizing, and I still sometimes feel the hole its ending left in me. That piece’s noir, workaday Purgatory was a place I could have really put down some roots.

Richard Hofmeier

My brother and I wasted a priceless, irreplaceable summer on River City Ransom. We stormed the main streets, viciously assaulted the town’s men with scavenged weapons, then spent the money we stole from them on milkshakes and comic books. Somewhere, behind the screaming jocks and the vomiting gang leaders, beyond the steam of the health club spa, past the pit of the abandoned warehouse, there may have been a girl awaiting rescue. Was she safe? What did she look like, and would she pick my brother over me? Would she be cold to us both? Neither of us cared enough about her, or whatever flimsy story there was. We’d mugged enough frat guys to buy cowboy boots. Our assault victims were powerless. The milkshakes never ran dry and there was a place where a cute waitress would give you a free, silly “smile” if you ordered it off the menu. My brother hated that, but I loved it.

Derrick Sanskrit
A Boy And His Blob

For about two years now I’ve yet to finish the Wii version of A Boy And His Blob. While you kept discovering more exciting and powerful jellybeans as the game progressed, it also became impossible to get Blob to fully avoid enemies or getting stuck behind walls, and every time that smiling puff of goo turned red with frustration or black with fear, my heart just sank. I’d tap the dedicated hug button, squeeze that blob just as hard as I could, and go back to the first half of the game where we could frolic in peace. Maybe I was being selfish by not saving the world, but I just wanted to keep hanging out with my squishy magical best friend forever.

Samantha Nelson

One of the big plot elements in Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor is the death clock, a number over every person’s head that ticks down to their demise and the destruction of demon-infested Tokyo. The lower that number got, the harder it got for me to keep playing. The game just did such a great job of building up a feeling of a dread that I feared whichever of the multiple endings I was heading toward. So I spent time grinding on fights that didn’t advance the clock, tweaking my demon army and, when things got really tense, putting down my DS for a while. A big part of it was the pressure of knowing that I had to make decisions that could get characters I’d become attached to killed. The fact that you only get one saved game made those choices feel far heavier. The multiple saves allowed in Devil Survivor 2 made it much easier for me to keep progressing.

Gus Mastrapa

I played Super Mario Sunshine at the height of my Nintendo fervor. And by that I mean that was the time in my life when I was most in love Nintendo’s way of doing things—especially the way that their games opt to teach you game rules by experience rather than tutorial. Despite most people not looking too fondly on that outing, I remember being swept up and really involved in exploring the island and squirting water all over the place. I especially loved those nail biting abstract levels—which feel like precursors to the great Super Mario Galaxy games. I collected stars obsessively, but when I got to the final boss fight, which pits you against Bowser in a big pool of toxic goo, I quit after my first death. I think my feelings around that moment fell somewhere between knowing where things were going and feeling too exhausted to play them out, and a kind of ambivalence about finishing something that gave me so much satisfaction.

Scott Jones

While I’ve occasionally experienced genuine sadness when certain games have come to an end (The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past comes to mind), I don’t think I’ve ever consciously stopped playing a game because I didn’t want it to end. Ninety-nine out of a hundred times, I honestly can’t wait for the goddamn things to be over. No kidding. The final third of practically every game ever made is almost always the least compelling part of the experience. Like a lot of people, I too have a formidable to-play pile, as well as a stack of half-finished games that I have every intention of one day returning to. What I’ve recently come to realize is that those games are in those two categories for a reason. If I’m going to be honest with myself, then I need to realize that I’m never going to play Sonic Colors.

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867 Responses to “Games We Don’t Want To End”

  1. vinnybushes says:

    Persona 4 definitely stands out for me as game I couldn’t finish because I didn’t want to know the ending. I got to the point where I could actually make one of the characters my girlfriend and I liked all the characters so much I was actually paralyzed by the ramifications of my decision. I may not even pick up the new persona fighting game because I’m worried its going to ruin it for me.

    • Cheese says:

      Persona 3 was the same way for me. I immediately started a second playthrough after I beat it, something I rarely do.

      And Red Dead Redemption. I very much didn’t want RDR to end.

      • jarviscockblocker says:

        RDR for me too. 

        (obvious SPOILERS)

        What makes the ending so heartbreaking is of course you can keep doing the stranger missions you have left over and you can hunt racoons or do the challenges (killing two cougars with a knife was the hardest thing I ever did in that game), but you can’t do anything substantial because the world of John Marston is gone. 
        And with the music at West Elizabeth, and the whole feeling of uselessness in a world becoming more and more modern, playing it is very much a sad experience for me. 

        • SamPlays says:

          I have to go with RDR, too. Usually, I prefer games that have a quick travel option because traversing the same ground over and over gets tedious and I want to simply get down to the business at hand. Fallout 3 exemplifies this perfectly – I loved staking out new territory (it’s one of the best exploration-based games I’ve ever played due to the sheer diversity of places to go) but I HATED walking/running back to my house or any other town I visited multiple times. 

          This was never the case with RDR. I very rarely travelled from place to place using the camp option. For me, it was the horse riding that made travelling so enjoyable. It was fast enough to get you somewhere but it allows you to really enjoy the artistry and realism of the rendered landscape. Maybe I’m just a sucker for the geography of the Old West but I felt at a loss when the game ended. Undead Nightmare was a fun way to extend the experience but it just wasn’t the same (although the “bad” dead-horse behavior was a great touch).

        • Mookalakai says:

          Definitely agree on Red Dead. It’s a game I can just pick up, and not really even do much in. I think it’s fun just to walk around Blackwater, or Thieves Landing, tipping my hat to people, watching the movies there, and stopping street crimes. It’s such a nice change of pace from most quick, rapid fire games. Fighting cougars and bears with just a knife was so rewarding though, because it felt like a truly fair fight after shooting so many animals up to that point.

          Also to @SamPlays:disqus points, I usually fast travel in open world games for the sake of speeding up the process, but in Red Dead I usually would ride across the map, or take a train, or sometimes just saunter on my horse at a pretty low speed. Games like Red Dead and Skyrim really helped me just soak in the ambiance and enjoy nature, much more than I have ever done in real life, which is incredibly sad.

      • Professor_Cuntburglar says:

        SPOILERS

         I didn’t really like the ending to RDR. I know it makes sense thematically, but after spending the entire game blowing away like 20 bad guys with one Dead-Eye I was pretty sure I could take the 10 dudes waiting outside the barn. Not much gameplay/narrative connection there.

        • duwease says:

          Maybe the slower pace of farm work and family life dulled his senses a bit.  Or maybe he just got done plowing his wife and was a little heavy-lidded.  These things happen.

        • Baramos x says:

           Hmm, well, keep in mind that they were all aiming at you already and unleashed a barrage of shotgun/rifle fire as soon as you started shooting them. I don’t think it stretches even the game conventions too far (at least if you’re playing on Expert difficulty, anyway)–I got killed many times playing the game and it didn’t seem too unrealistic.

          One thing I thought was odd was you couldn’t kill the fed even though he was in the crowd. The game won’t let you aim at him. I know they wanted to save him for the end of the story, of course, but if so they should have just not had him in the crowd of soldiers/marshals/feds. He could still walk on screen after they demolish you.

      • Power_Lloyd says:

        RDR is my favorite game, and I still do multiplayer if anyone wants to play sometime. I have every single trophy but still enjoy it, even if it’s just for late night poker. PSN name is Power_Lloyd

        • Baramos x says:

           I have a hard time on multiplayer. Everybody seems like an incredible headshot artists–I thought maybe they had gone full-bore hard core and bought those mice that one company makes, but I think they are just that practiced.

          Now what I really really like is Undead Overrun. That is fun no matter what since it’s cooperative, not competitive.

          Although one time I got saddled with a guy who insisted on defeating all zombies with pistol whipping. We only got to Level 2. So annoying.

      • BuntlineSpecial says:

        Just about to finish a second playthrough.  Still magnificent — the settings, voice acting, and the “feel.”  Best horseback riding ever done.  I recently played Drake 3, and the riding in that game was almost laughable compared to RDR.  I also still don’t like the lead-in to the conclusion (spoilers): corrupt government agents have kidnapped the main character’s wife and kid, then they get the army to kill him?

        But, maybe my all time favorite game.  Riding through Mexico the first time, hearing that “So Far Away” song?  Doesn’t get any better than that.

        • Baramos x says:

           Hah, I can see why you like it by your user name.

          And the thing with the gov’t agents was all throughout the story, so I didn’t mind it.

          The best part of that game was when you made it to Mexico and that song started playing out of the blue. Only a video game can create that sort of feeling of both accomplishment but also weariness at the road ahead.

      • Baramos x says:

        I’m not sure there are many of us out there, but I felt the same way about Revolver as I did about Redemption. I played that game through a dozen times, getting all the best weapons and unlocking all the special abilities. Red Dead Redemption was even more amazing. Just an excellent series of games.

    • doyourealize says:

      Yes…Chrono Cross. My roommate and I used to regularly beat that game in college. When we did, our other roommate would dress up and put on a little music video for the Japanese song they play during the credits. I can still sing along (to the nonsense words we made up, not the actual lyrics).

      • Baramos x says:

         That game’s plotline made absolutely no sense, but yes, the music was pretty amazing.

    • Citric says:

      I remember in Persona 4 I was courting the long hair girl in my party, and really wanted her to be my girlfriend, but there was this other girl there who I was progressing down the friendship path. Anyway, the last scene with her, you could either hug her or walk away, and the way the scene was written I couldn’t bring myself to walk away because I’d feel like such a massive prick for breaking her heart. So I wound up hugging her and was an even more of a massive prick, because I also picked up the long haired girl because I liked her more.

    • Asinus says:

      I still really need to play Chrono Cross… I’m pretty sure I have the ROM around here somewhere.

      • vinnybushes says:

         I should mention that my all time favorite game is Chrono Trigger and unlike Chrono Cross I’ve beaten it completely at least five times. Some games are so strong all the way through that the solution to their being finished is just starting again…

        • dreadguacamole says:

            The only game I immediately went back to immediately after finishing is… Alpha Protocol. I have no idea what that says about me as a person.

        • Mookalakai says:

           @dreadguacamole:disqus It means you just couldn’t get enough of those sweet, sweet dialogue trees.

        • Merve says:

          @Mookalakai:disqus: Don’t you mean dialogue QTEs? ;)

      • large_marge_sent_me says:

        I don’t know how kosher this is to talk about here, but if I’m looking to download an emulator and ROMs (PS and PS2 especially – have always wanted to give Chrono Cross a go), specifically for a Mac, where do I start? 

        • Baramos x says:

          Hmm, well Emuparadise would be a good place to start, seems like they would have all the ROMs and also a list of all the various emulators for each system and which OS they work with and where to download them.

        • Asinus says:

          I wasn’t ducking your answer– I have a friend who has every Playstation RPG released in the states (this may not be an exaggeration). I ripped a few gig of discs one day. Cart based roms are a little easier to find.

        • If you look around the internet matey, it isnt that difficult to discover a world you wouldn’t believe existed until you personally witnessed it. You can truly find ANYTHING on the internet and about two months ago I began to learn about “scene” kids TOTALLY unlike the buttheads you first think of when you hear that dumb term. Arrrrr, these scalawags may be bristly towards the new swabbies but stick to your guns and you’ll find riches beyond measure. errr not monetary riches but something more along the lines of what you mentioned only so awesome and insane it is asinine. It takes some practice and the learning curve is moderate but when you’ve got it down……….youll make fart sounds at ROM’s as they will be totally obsolete in your mind. AHOY MATEY SHIVER ME TIMBERS FOLLOW THE CLUES JIM BOY!

    • Sarapen says:

      Oh damn, Chrono Cross was it. I thought the battle before the big switcheroo was the final one so imagine my surprise when Serge actually said something for the first time. I was all “wtf”? It’s a game I wouldn’t mind playing forever.

      Still, if you still haven’t finished it I really would suggest you get to it, some of the endings are sweet and poignant, especially the main one.

      • vinnybushes says:

         I got extremely close to the end, like burning orphanage close, but I pretty much stopped there, probably because it was so heartrendingly awesome. My other favorite part for much the same reason as the orphanage, is when the three original Chrono trigger characters show up (fairly early on) and tell you you ruined everything. That destroyed me.

        • Sarapen says:

          That orphanage bit was very moving, particularly when Chrono Trigger had an identical bit with a better outcome and it would be reasonable to expect something similar. Did you see those drawings on the wall? To think that those brave kids from the first game never got their happy ending after all.

          Anyway, you got fairly close to the end, in fact you got close to the actual end instead of another fake out. Just stick to it a little bit more. You’ve left Schala mind-melded to LAVOS for years, how can you live with yourself? America still needs your help.

      • Baramos x says:

         I remember not knowing how to use the Chrono Cross and just getting the dumb “credits roll” ending. So terrible.

        That game was fun and had amazing music and a very vibrant world, but it just did so many things wrong (the plot was the worst thing, but stuff like trying to figure out how to use the Chrono Cross was also badly done).

  2. Mike Mariano says:

    The challenge levels of A Boy and his Blob really do hint at the sadism the game designers are capable of.  Sanskrit is right to play to the game’s strengths and abuse that hug button!

    The game I never wanted to end was Thief II: The Metal Age.  Luckily I downloaded a ridiculous number of fan missions so Garrett can continue to sneak across metal grates well into my old age.

  3. X_the_Anonymous_Man_or_Woman says:

    I don’t think this has ever happened to me. Frustrated with a game and never to return? Sure. Distracted by another game I’ve put on absent mindedly not realizing it would suck me in? We’ve all been there. But I’ve never stopped playing a game because I didn’t want to see it end.

    • Enkidum says:

      Yeah, this is a totally new concept to me as well. Never thought of doing it. But it seems that a lot of people have, so even though the article didn’t speak to me directly it taught me something, which is cool enough.

    • Sarapen says:

      Yeah, to me it’s like leaving a good novel half-finished, you can’t really call something great until you’ve experienced the entire thing.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      I’d heard of it, but I’m the exact opposite.  The sooner I finish something, the sooner that I can remember, appreciate, or analyze it.

    • The_Forgotten_Quill says:

      I, too, am in your camp. I have never done this (never thought to do this). The closest thing I can think of is that I’ve finished a game I’ve really loved and then intentionally forgotten about it so I can come back later to replay it. 

      I’ve done this most recently with the Gabriel Knight series. A couple of months ago, I replayed the entire series (after over two years) because it had been long enough where they really felt fresh and new. I’ve finished them plenty of times though.

    • BarbleBapkins says:

      Never really had this happen to me either. I am terrible for getting near the end of a game and just quitting, but not because I don’t want it to end. I usually just don’t like the last bit of most games and get burnt out and quit.

      The closest I think I’ve ever came to doing what the question asks was with Portal 2, but I only stopped playing for about 2 days because I was busy and wanted to wait until I had enough time to really enjoy the ending.

      • George_Liquor says:

        I don’t think it’s something people really plan to do; I think it comes from a subconscious desire to prolong the pleasure of a really great game as long as possible.

        Now, I’ve skipped out on a game’s ending for the reasons you mentioned, too. I blazed through what turned out to be Starcraft 2’s entire single player campaign in a few days. I was so bummed by its brevity that I lost all interest in the game before finishing that last mission.

    • LoadRanPimp420 says:

      Yeah, same here. In fact, It strikes me as really strange. stopping a game you’re really enjoying to….what…prolong enjoyment? aren’t you just delaying said enjoyment? Not like you’re enjoying the game while you’re not playing it, are you? That, to me, is like pinching off before orgasm. why?

      There are definitely games I can’t get enough of, such as Shadow of the Colossus, the God Of War games, Super Meat Boy….but when that happens, I usually start the game again and just master the shit out of it (all three examples have higher difficulty settings after you play through them once).

      The only game that’s come close for me was Portal 2. I LOVED that game, and unfortunately, when it’s done, its done. I’ll play it again in a few years and enjoy it all over again, im sure, but that doesnt scratch the itch for more NOW

      • GhaleonQ says:

        For 1 thing, haven’t these people heard of New Game Plus?!

        • LoadRanPimp420 says:

          seriously! but it seems most people are approaching the topic from the point of view of the narrative, which doesn’t make any more sense to me.

          “wow, this movie is awesome! Let’s pause it and bask in its glory and watch the rest a few weeks from now”

    • Halloween_Jack says:

      I’ve done this, a few times. 

  4. caspiancomic says:

    Funnily enough, the game for me that comes closest to this phenomenon is the same as Teti’s: Final Fantasy XII. I remember barrelling through the game at a pretty respectable clip, without indulging in too many sidequests or too much grinding. Then, I arrived at a pretty portentous feeling moment in the plot, and suddenly realized that I could be seeing credits in like two hours if I kept this pace up. So I brought my gallop down to a trot, and started going back through old dungeons, returning to towns and talking to folks, and accepting those mark hunting quests. I think I did damn near every mark all in one huge multiple-day block. So the first few marks I just slaughtered, because obviously they were intended for like a level 10 party. I was planning on doing all the marks before moving on to the final boss, but after doing like 75-80% of them, I suddenly found myself getting really tired of the game, and had an overwhelming desire to just put it behind me.

    I stormed the final dungeon on a whim- and was pretty critically under prepared- and just barely had the strength to beat the last boss on my first attempt. It was a real photo finish. It probably says something about that game that I really enjoyed playing it at the time, but remember almost nothing about it besides the gameplay. I don’t know if I could even name half the main characters, I don’t remember what the story was about, and I don’t remember who the main antagonist was or who the final boss was. All I remember is a bunch of words that were like half and ordinary word with an apostrophe stuck in there to make it sound kinda “fantasy”. Lots of Sun Crysts and Dynast Kings and shit. What, is a “crystal” not high fantasy enough? Were you paying your voice actors by the syllable or something?

    Although I do like to spend a lot of time faffing about with sidequests in RPGs, I don’t think many of them fall under this “delay finishing the game because you don’t want it to be over” scenario- mostly it’s an obsessive compulsive thing. Although I did do something similar to this with Radiant Historia recently- when I had the end of the game in my crosshairs, I deliberately reversed course and started tidying up my loose ends just because I was having so much fun playing.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      It’s my 3rd favorite Final Fantasy, but I wanted to stop playing it immediately after Yazmat.  it just made me sad for Matsuno.

      http://bit.ly/9jjB0W

      “One Deity among Dragons, One great Wyrm to rule all Wyrms of the World, by the Creator Himself created. Legend says it is an Anima, Guardian to a Sacred Blade. Though most sacred among its Kind, its great Power drove it to Madness, and in the End, it became a Threat to its own Creator. His Master was killed by Yiazmat, robbing Montblanc of all Joy in Life, and he would have Revenge.”  I’d like to think his pal Alexander O. Smith put all of his effort into translating that one.

    • doyourealize says:

      As I wrote in my comment, FFXII also had this effect on me, though when I finally stormed that final dungeon, I was so over-powered it was a little bit of a joke.

      As flawed as FFXIII was, I think it did the endgame right. You can’t really over-power your characters until after you’ve beat it once, so the final boss will be challenging. After this, you can fill Crystariums (is that the right term?) and become truly powerful, but, unlike other Final Fantasy games, this comes after the end.

      • Asinus says:

        Yeah, this last time I played through FF7 I was way, way overpowered for the main story stuff (Emerald Weapon still had his way with me) and had to dally around in combat to make the fights last longer than a round or two. It started to feel like I was condescending to the game after a while, so I just threw a KotR at Jenova just so that my never-used party didn’t have to embarrass themselves. 

        • The_Misanthrope says:

           I believe I stopped playing FF7 because I’d seen several people finish it and the fight with Sephiroth seemed so anticlimatic to me.  At that point in the game, I had so much materia crammed in every possible armor/weapon-orifice that only the Weapons seemed like a real challenge (and I wasn’t about to spend precious time racing/breeding to get the gold chocobo).  Sephiroth just took a long time because Cloud had to warm up his Ultimate “Fuck You Sephiroth” Limit Break.   I know it seems odd that any boss fight with a choir singing the boss’ name and a comet that destroys the Solar System just to get to you could seem so *underwhelming*, but that’s my impression.

        • caspiancomic says:

           Hahahaha, I had the same “problem” my last game of FFVII. Last year I was really sick, so I spent most of the year replaying old favourite games, including VII, and decided that this time around I’d finally beat Ruby and Emerald. (When the game first came out and all my friends and I were obsessed, I came this close to being able to do it and accidentally saved over my file. It took me… *counts* 14 years to get over that wound and get back on the horse)

          Anyway, I did the works. Gold Chocobo, KOTR, Level 4 Limit Breaks and Ultimate Weapons for everyone, creative use of linked materia, Final Attack + Mastered Phoenix, etc etc. I even did that trick where you equip certain materia to have a character go into combat with 7777 HP and unleash All Lucky 7777s right out of the gate. Emerald was still a pain, but was a lot of fun to fight. After all that preparing though, Ruby was a cinch.

          After that, though, the game just had nothing left for me. I tapdanced through the Northern Crater and crushed Safer Sephiroth in like two rounds. I didn’t even do all that much fancy stuff, I was just handing out so much damage with 4X Cut by that point that he didn’t stand a chance. I was actually kind of annoyed- I thought there were hidden metrics in place that scaled the strength of the last boss to that of your party, so I went in expecting him to have a huge pool of HP, but I just trashed him in less than a minute. When he went into his dying animation I thought it was some crazy super attack that I didn’t remember.

        • Girard says:

           I had the exact same issue with FFXII. I only beat the marks up to about level VII, but that was enough to make me handily stronger than any entity I encountered in the endgame. Pretty much with any RPG that has abundant sidequests and powerful secret weapons, it seems like you have a chance to encounter the weird feeling of “simply walk[ing] into Mordor.”

      • The_Forgotten_Quill says:

        First, thanks SO much for that link to the Interactive Fiction site. It’s nice to see that it’s a genre that’s still alive and well. I’ve missed it terribly. 

        Now, a quick off-topic comment…
        FFXII is one of those games I never finished (and not because I didn’t want to see the end), but because leveling was SUCH a grind for me. I never, NEVER complain about level grinding in a good RPG, but that one did me in big time. 

        I can’t remember exactly, but I was almost 75 hours in and I think I might have been around level 25 or something ridiculous like that. I had almost the entire license board unlocked (the top anyway) and I was still having a hard time getting through dungeons. 

        I would have LOVED to have been over-leveled. Is there a trick other than just putting in another 100 hours of grinding? Perhaps I should have focused on a three-person team (Balthier, Fran and Basch) and ignored the rest instead of wanting everyone leveled together?

        I’d love to play (and finish) that game again someday.

        • doyourealize says:

          Glad to help!

          You can go online and find tricks for leveling in FFXII which involve setting the right gambits (is that the right term?) and just leaving your system on overnight. I didn’t use any of these to beat it, though. I would use one party (Vaan, Ashe, and Penelo) until they leveled up, then switch to the next (Fran, Balthier, Basch) until they leveled up, etc. I would usually get to the point where the next step would be to enter the final dungeon without looking any guides, then look up stuff that I missed. After completing all those extra sidequests, my characters were really powerful.

        • Girard says:

          I just did a lot of the Marks, and the process of doing them (and fighting my way to them through familiar territory) “grinded” me without my actually having to do any grinding. The only time I got really out of my depth in any dungeons was when I’d go off the beaten path and start unknowingly heading towards a place that was the home of some high-level mark or secret boss.

          That really tall tower, for instance, that you go up in and fight Cid at the top, if memory serves. If you go downward, the enemies are insanely overpowered because that is a high-level Mark’s territory. There are totally lame-looking purple toads in the basement of that building that totally wrecked my shit at a point in the game where I was able to handily wipe out the supposedly world-threatening final-boss dude.

      • The_Forgotten_Quill says:

        (For some reason I can’t reply to your reply…it’s frustrating. Anyway…)

        I would do the same, level three and switch, but the rate was grueling. I remember grinding for hours in the Sandsea, but they leveled at a snail’s pace. I would try the bounty missions, but inevitably would meet one more advanced only to get butchered. Looking back, I don’t think I ever properly mastered the gambit system, which was probably my downfall.

        You have rekindled my interest in the game again though. Might be time to dust off the PS2 and see if I have better luck the second time around…

      • The only problem I had with FF13’s endgame is that there wasn’t very much to do. As fun as it was to slaughter Long Guis, there wasn’t much reward.

    • rvb1023 says:

      XII is the best game I have never finished.  Not because I wanted it to last longer, but because I hate it.

      That game had everything going for it: The best writing in the series, a great (bar two) cast, a wonderfully (sometimes too large) large world, gorgeous graphics, beautiful music, a story that was drastically different from previous entries, awesome and intimidating villains, and the single most boring combat system I have ever seen in an RPG.  That combat system combined with the game’s terrible pacing (I remember walking in a desert for about 2 hours and no, I wasn’t lost) actually made me fall asleep on two separate occasions.  I had more fun playing XIII despite it being a far worse game.

      • caspiancomic says:

         Interesting: it sounds like you and I had basically the opposite experience. I kept playing the game through what I considered to be a boring story with dopey characters because I enjoyed the mechanics so much. For me, so much of the fun of JRPGs is tinkering with my characters, and XII gave me a system where the tinkering was not only the between battle preparations, but the gameplay of the battle itself as well. When I found a truly elegant gambit layout and the battles would unfold naturally and gracefully before my eyes, with minimal input from myself, I found it very satisfying. It’s strange, I admit, to get so much enjoyment out of sufficiently instructing a game to play itself, but I guess that’s the kind of guy I am.

        I will admit though, that the world was top notch, and the graphics were probably the best on the PS2. I still have very strong memories of a lot of the locations in that game, in spite of not retaining much of the story. So it certainly has some strengths in that category. I’m sure the music is wonderful, as well (Hitoshi Sakimoto is a really talented dood), but I don’t remember any of it specifically, so that’s a big strike against, especially relative to Uematsu’s every-song-immediately-sticks-in-your-brain-forever style of composing. And Akihiko Yoshida is probably my second favourite Square artist, behind Yoshitaka Amano, which isn’t even really a fair comparison because Amano is God on Earth.

        You know, the more I talk about it, the more I’m talking myself into replaying Final Fantasy XII. Hmm… I’ve still got a month before classes start… I could probably pull this off…

        • rvb1023 says:

           Gambits were what turned me off of it mostly, I felt I either had no input on the fights because they would play themselves out or I was micromanaging my party because my gambits didn’t work for a particular situation.  The story takes a hit mainly because of the pacing and because Vaan and Penelo are still some of the dopiest characters in any FF.

          I’ve always thought about going back to it but something stops me from doing so and I can’t really put my finger on it.

  5. Aurora Boreanaz says:

    I’ve not often set aside a game completely to avoid finishing it, but I do have a tendency, if I like it enough, to stop just before the end and go back and finish any and all sidequests.

    The game I set aside most recently was Skyrim, but only 1/3rd of it was because I didn’t want it to end.  The other 2/3rds were getting The Old Republic, and getting a new PC to run The Old Republic.  Seven months later I still haven’t transferred my save to my new PC, but I’m not even sure I want to.  I was enjoying the game a lot, but what I’d read about the main questline kind of made me not want to finish it.  (No, I don’t want to kill a friend, let the world die or whatever.  I can kill any of those stupid dragons on sight anyway, just let me keep hunting them.)

    Also, RIVER CITY RANSOM!  Awesome!  I had that back in high school, and annoyed a few of my friends playing co-op by beating on them as soon as the real enemies were dead on the screen.  That one I made sure to buy all the upgrades before finishing.  Then I found out about the secret shop in the tunnel and went back and saved up for all of THAT gear too.  Played the whole game through again on an emulator a few years ago, just as fun as the first time.  BARFFFFF!

    • Asinus says:

      I *thought* I was at the end of Skyrim so I went to grind out some levels and do some of the side story stuff. Of course, I was way, way off in my estimate and went into the final battle at the soft cap and finished it in about 30-45 seconds. It was disappointing and awesome all at the same time. However, I’m glad that you aren’t really ever “done” with an ES game, though I’m waiting impatiently for the expansion to hit for those of us being screwed my microsoft. I still love that for all the time I’ve put into that game that I’m still finding places I’ve never seen. 

      • Effigy_Power says:

        I had the same issue. I was so ridiculously overpowered with daedric artifacts and maxed out skills that the boss-fight took a while minute or so, and only because of the scripted events.
        The level system once again failed to provide a balanced experience for me, which made me sad.

        • Asinus says:

          Of all of the things that scale in the last couple ES games, I would have expected the big, bad, world-destroying (or at least humanity-destroying) dragon to be one of them. I was actually kind of tense when the fight started, but after a dragonrend or two a few crits to his dragonface, it was over. 

          I was doing a lot of reading on how Skyrim scales and it is kind of interesting… Zones have a range to which they’ll scale. So, a dungeon might be 10-20, so if you go int at 5, you’ll get pwnd. Once you go in at level 10-20, it will lock to your level and stay that way for the rest of your game. However, going in at 5 (or anywhere below 10) will not lock that dungeon to any level, but once you go in at, say 19, it will be locked at 19 even if you’re level 40. Some creatures are a fixed level and others scale linearly. I would have expected the Big Bad to be one of the latter. Others probably had looked into this long before I did, but I just thought it was an interesting system, especially after the shitfest scaling of Oblivion that, mostly, negated levels.

          Speaking of levels– I just restarted Morrowind– man, I love that leveling system and just how complex all of the stats and all of that junk are. One thing I really miss from ES games are linking your stat bumps at levelups to the things you’ve done. You couldn’t gain 20 points in speechcraft and then use that to boost your strength. It made a lot of sense.

        • I love Morrowind (LOVE it, hated Oblivion by comparison), but the leveling system totally inflamed my obsession qualities, I would find myself swimming into a wall for 5 straight hours to get the max strength bonus at level-up and thinking ‘I am really even playing a game here?’.  I was glad when it was done away with.

          My only complaint with the ‘systems’ in Skyrim is that you can (probably won’t, but CAN) do basically everything in one playthrough.  The only element comparable to the ‘rival houses’ of Morrowind was Stormcloaks vs. Empire, all the other guilds and join-able groups can coexist pretty well.  I loved in Morrowind how you pretty much tumbled into compatible guilds and houses and knew you’d have to come back in a later playthrough to join others.

        • The_Misanthrope says:

           I do agree TES should have more end-game challenges for your filthy rich godling, but that is still preferable to glass-armor-wearing bandits.

          Some RPG has got to acknowledge the fact that you/your party is probably their best client, with a GNP equivalent to a small island nation.  And yet they never roll out the red carpet for you or actively try to court your business.  Many of them probably still hold on to old biases about you or think you are about to rob them blind.

        • Professor_Cuntburglar says:

           I realized recently that my Skyrim character is literally the richest and most powerful character in all of Skyrim, but the guards still give me shit.

        • Asinus says:

          @Professor_Cuntburglar:disqus — Yes, I wish there were a dialog option: “Do you not see me?! I’m wearing armor that I MADE OUT OF DEMON HEARTS, you pathetic shit!”

        • Aurora Boreanaz says:

          @The_Asinus:disqus  – At the very least you should be able to arrowface the most annoying ones, from stealth with nobody else in sight, without the fucking guards knowing instantly who and where you are.

          “Have you been to the Cloud Dist*hurkgurgle*”

          “STOP HIM!  HE’S OVER THERE, AROUND THOSE TWO CORNERS, BEHIND THAT TREE AND JUST CHANGED CLOTHES!”

        • Asinus says:

          I just started Dawnguard and had a harder time with the Dragonlord at the end of the very first dungeon than I did with the dragon at the end of Skyrim (one so big and scary that I can’t remember his name). That was mainly because he was level 50 (I checked) and throwing ice spells at me, and I couldn’t be bothered to arm a spell. 

    • Captain Internet says:

      I can understand not wanting to finish Skyrim. I wish I hadn’t- the voice acting at the end is amongst the worst in the series.

    • The_Forgotten_Quill says:

      This. I did this with Tales of Vesperia, which was kind of amusing because the atmosphere of the land turns very, very menacing with the “arrival” of the final dungeon. 

      It’s obvious that’s where you need to be and technically, there’s a very real threat that the “bad guy” has arrived and the world is in peril and here I am just skipping along saying, “Oh, you know what, I still need to visit so and so and get an upgrade. Be back later!”

      I spent at least 20 hours finishing up side-quests and doing some extra leveling while the “destroyer of worlds” just patiently waits for me to come face off with him.

      RPG logic at its best!

    • STOP_RIGHT_THERE_CRIMINAL_SCUM says:

      for some odd reason I got bored with Skyrim after only a month and have not beat it yet

      I don’t know why, but the Fallout series setting is more my style, the high fantasy setting of the Elder Scrolls is not as interesting to me (and yes, I’m aware of the irony of my name and gravatar referencing TES), it seems like the world of TES would be painfully generic if it weren’t for the HP Lovecraft trappings here and there 

      but I still plan on finishing Skyrim eventually 

      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        I’m with you there anyway.  I love TES games just because of the scale, but I’m more of a fan of post-apocalyptic and sci-fi games.

  6. Spacemonkey Mafia says:

    Without question, Metroid Prime.  As it is, the game bears a lot of my emotional relationship to gaming.  It is the final game I ever played, to date, that I’ve become completely lost in.  As in, the already abstract application of time bending and warping even further as each perfectly placed power-up or puzzle pulls you further into the game world and farther away from such un-heroic activities as a work shift.  Or sleep, which when it did come, was punctuated by retina burns of charge beams across my eyelids.
       It is also my first experience playing a game that I felt was actually designed for me.  As in, all the things I would love to see implemented into a game, from design to execution were finally articulated for me more gorgeously than I could ever have hoped.  How the visual design so seamlessly blended the mood established by the previous entries in the series, but expanded on them with elements of iconoclastic Muslim architecture and Brian Froud’s Dark Crystal.
       And how an ostensible FPS could be defined by exploration, edification and discovery.  A game that -with the exception of your own face rarely glimpsed in a muzzle flash- shows you nothing of yourself but a giant gun, can create a deeply affecting tone of squander and loss.  Also, one of the best game soundtracks ever.
       I know this all sounds borderline hyperbolic; the kind of purple prose a fifteen year old would journal about his first handjob, but I remain in love with the game.
       And to this day, I still haven’t passed it.  Whether that’s a product of subconsciously never wanting this pivotal relationship with gaming to bear a stamp of finality, or that those last fucking color changing Metroids are a righteous pain in my ass, I don’t know.

    • Enkidum says:

      I really didn’t want my first handjob to end either!

      Sorry, I’ve never played any Metroid games at all so I have nothing useful to add here.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        In a parallel dimension to ours, your first handjob never did end and it has driven you mad.

        • Enkidum says:

          Well, it’s like I’ve always said*, if you’ve got to be driven mad, it might as well be from a neverending handjob.

          *Enkidum has never said this before in his life.

        • George_Liquor says:

          Ooh, man! Imagine the chafing!

    • X_the_Anonymous_Man_or_Woman says:

       The Prime series was an incredible achievement as I feel that it brought classic Metroid style and feel to a 3-D space flawlessly.

      Hell, it even got fps platforming right. That’s an achievement in and of itself.

    • Girard says:

       re: Our earlier discussion about my distaste for Bioshock and general lack of joy with FPS games. The Metroid Prime series are a happy, happy exception, for many of the reasons you outlined. They are probably the only bona fide FPS games I’ve genuinely, unreservedly enjoyed playing (and not played through out of a sense of duty, like the Half Life games, or attempted and aborted, like Bioshock).

      I think a large part of that is that edifying focus on exploration and discovery you described. But while it does that super well, the game also makes the combat interesting, exciting, and fun with a variety of tools/weapons and inventive, outlandish enemies that build upon the series’s platform shooter roots. In Bioshock, conversely, the exploration and shooter gameplay never really gelled for me, and I always found myself wishing I was exploring this story and world via a more appropriate mechanic, like a mid-90s first-person-adventure game (Myst, the graphical Zorks), rather than pushing my gun around this dank space, engaging in repetitive combat with samey, ugly humanoids.

      • AHyperkineticLagomorph says:

         I think calling Metroid Prime a FPS in the first place is somewhat silly. Defining a game by a gameplay mechanic that may not even be the primary focus of the game seems a bit off.

        As you pointed out, MP is more about exploration than it is about shooting stuff. I think I’ve heard people refer to it as a “First Person Adventure.” By the same token, Fallout 3 and New Vegas are really more WRPGs than FPS, despite their perspective.

        Actually, come to think of it, besides the Persona and Red Dead Redemption games which were covered above, I never wanted to finish New Vegas. Part of this is because there IS no going back. Once you’ve finished, you can’t wander the Mojave anymore. But the other part is that things will never go perfectly for the place. I argue that the NCR, while certainly run by some Grade-A bureaucratic morons, is still the best faction to supoort. But that means seeing Good Springs get run under and usually a variety of other unpleasant news. And some of the companions endings, while not tragic, can be bittersweet, especially Arcade’s and Veronica’s.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

          I call it an FPS, but that’s mostly for ease of handle.  It’s like calling the Sopranos a mob show, or the Wire a cop procedural.  A convenient descriptor but not reflective of the actual tone of the game.  Metroid Prime is the Sam Peckinpah of FPS’s, the anti-FPS.

        • Professor_Cuntburglar says:

          Has anyone ever actually sided with Mr. House in that game?

        • AHyperkineticLagomorph says:

           @Spacemonkey_Mafia:disqus Sounds to me like we need a new term for such games. Calling it a FPS is technically accurate and easier, but it just feels wrong.

          @Professor_Cuntburglar:disqus I have seen arguments for House. I’ve also seen arguments for Legion being the best hope for the Mojave. And not jokingly. More along the veins of “their tyranny is temporary and will be stopped when order is restored.”

          I guess what I’m saying is people scare me.

        • Merve says:

          @AHyperkineticLagomorph:disqus: I might be able to make a case for the Legion if I thought about it. The only reason I sided against them was because I didn’t like the way they dressed. (I’m not joking.)

          I feel a little weird calling New Vegas an FPS, considering that I played so much of it from the third-person perspective.

        • azudarko says:

          Are you kidding? The Independent is a great ending, provided that you’re a consistently good persona that picks the best option for everyone. If I remember correctly, the only people that really get screwed in that scenario are the Brotherhood of Steel. And fuck those guys, anyway. 

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        I was actually thinking of our discussion about Bioshock while writing this.  I’ll be the first to admit it was almost all atmosphere and somewhat superficial wit that propelled me through the game, and even then, I took a few month hiatus during the final third as I was a little tired of the repetition.
           But you’re absolutely right that the game would benefit greatly from taking more cues from Prime.  And it, somewhat like Uncharted, is what would be a perfectly great exploration game somewhat dulled by mistaking itself for an action game.

  7. doyourealize says:

    Teti – Love seeing that you enjoyed FFXII as much as I did. Still my favorite of the series. I didn’t even realize how controversial that choice was until a year or two ago when I posted something about it on a GameFaqs board and got lambasted for it. I just kept putting off the end of that game until it wasn’t possible anymore, and realized that was the right choice, as the ending was a little underwhelming.

    Heisler – But that’s the wonderful thing about Dark Souls! It doesn’t end, even when you beat it. You just keep playing!

    As for me, the example of this that really stands out is the new Prince of Persia. MINOR SPOILERS *** I enjoyed the game, but it wasn’t something I thought I’d reminisce on years later until the final moments, which I still consider to be the best video game ending I’ve ever experienced. When I was ready to finish, I went into the final level just ready for the game to be over so I could move on to the next game. And then the credits started rolling, and I just didn’t want to do what the game was making me do…I didn’t want to finish it. I ran around for quite a while, looking for some way out, even while knowing there was only one way out. I know this can sound a little abstract to someone who hasn’t played, but I think even if I explained it, it wouldn’t carry the same weight. SPOILERS OVER ***

    Also a strong contender would be Mass Effect 3, the first true video game trilogy I ever played (was there one before this?) SPOILERS AGAIN *** The sequence before the final moments, walking through the destroyed London streets and saying your final good-byes…heart-breaking. Especially if you had, like I had, played with the same character from start to end. SPOILERS OVER *** 

    The other games on my list would include FFIX, Psychonauts, Okami, and Shadow of the Colossus.

    Jones – I would use any one of the games mentioned here (except maybe PoP to counter your statement that “the final third of practically every game ever made is almost always the least compelling part of the experience.”

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      I played the Mass Effect series through with the same character as well, and you’re right…that whole last planet was amazing.  Everything leading up to it too…just superbly done all around.

      Since I avoided end spoilers until after I was done, the controversy didn’t affect me that much.  The ending I chose was good enough for me.

    • Col. Roy Campbell says:

      I don’t think being out of step with GameFAQs is necessarily a bad thing.

      • doyourealize says:

        I figured that out afterwards and stayed away from the boards…except the Demon’s Souls board.

    • Merve says:

      ME3 is one of the few games that I’ve ever experienced this with. I put off doing the Cerberus assault for about a month before I could gather the courage to do it. It wasn’t really because I’d developed an attachment to the characters. But I just didn’t want to leave the Mass Effect universe. I wanted to keep exploring, meet every race, see every corner of the galaxy.

      Plus, I’m pretty sure that the ME series was designed specially for me. It’s one of two game series – the other being Deus Ex – that hits my sweet spot of action versus RPG elements, cinematic storytelling versus narrative through gameplay, and difficulty versus progression.

      • The_Misanthrope says:

         I will admit that one of the pleasures of the ME series was revealing your crew’s histories through dialogue with or overheard.  Yes, by ME3, it had started to get a little fan-servicey, but it was probably what extended my playthrough runtime the most.

      • Andrew says:

        Nothing beats the original Deus Ex. I play it almost once a year. Sooooo much fun, pretty damn long, and yet I still wanted it to go on forever.

      • The Guilty Party says:

        No no, they came and personally quizzed me for what I want in games too for the ME series. Honestly, it’s kind of eerie how they made things just right for me. And yeah, starting that Final Mission… I didn’t want to.

    • Asinus says:

      Oh man, FFIX was the last FF game that I really liked, and I don’t even know what the fuck that thing is that you fight at the end. What was impressive to me about how they structured the very end of that game is that (Well, spoilers, but come on, you should have played it by now, get ePSXe and play it) when it looked like Zidane was dead at the end but obviously wasn’t going to be, I watched the flashback start and mentally eyerolled. “Whatever, he’s going to be alive,” and as it went on, I got more and more caught up in the characters reflections on their time with him and started to get really excited for the big reveal. That final movie was really well done considering the cheesy, predictable, and silly (on its face) thing they were trying to do. 
      I still don’t think I’ve played that one all the way to the end  a second time, but I still really love it. I might actually like it more than VII; the characters feel more fleshed out, and I like almost all of them. Freya is goddamned awesome. 

      Shit… now I know what I’m going to be playing sometime this week.

      • Colonel says:

        I find myself liking my memories of playing it the first few times than actually playing it now.  The battle system is crazy slow and there are long stretches of nothing much to do.  I guess I’ve grown more impatient over the years but I really do l like the game and am mad I can’t go back to enjoy it again.

        Oh!  And miss-able items!  I fucking loathe miss-able items and FFIX is one of the worst offenders.  I just have to collect everything!  At my own pace!

      • caspiancomic says:

        FFIX is still my all time favourite Final Fantasy game. The end, like you said, is pure brilliance- if predictable brilliance. I love the combination of the bookendy nature of the final scene, with Uematsu’s wicked music (best work he’s ever done! I said it!), and the seriously earned feeling sentiment between Dagger and Zidane. Although I also love after the last boss when Steiner mentions something like “I would follow you to Kingdom Come” or whatever- just the idea that these two were so antagonistic at the beginning of the game, and have developed such a respectful and understanding relationship. Plus, it felt really natural, and honest. Gah. Excellent.

        There has been a lot of speculation about what exactly Necron is, and I don’t think there’s been a statement from Square in any particular direction. There’s a story analysis on Gamefaqs that competently argues that Necron is some kind of function of the Iifa Tree. Other people say it more generally represents the concept of death, or is specifically a Grim Reaper sort of figure. I’ve even heard it suggested that it’s some kind of grand puppet master over the entire plot, and the whole Terra/Gaia cycle of souls business was just one of its dizzyingly complicated plans to eradicate all life, and Kuja has been its unwitting pawn since the beginning. Still other people think it was a monstrous being trapped inside the Crystal, and that it was released when Kuja destroyed it.

        If you’re looking for any answer in particular from me, I’m sorry in advance for disappointing you. Square games are (/were) beautiful things, with engrossing stories and lovable characters, but they could never quite stick the landing. In IX’s case, I think the ending sequence after Necron is defeated pulls the game out of a nose dive very gracefully, and I consider the ending of IX to generally be a success as a result. But the final boss- while fun, and sorta cool looking, and maybe relevant to the underlying themes of the game if not the plot- is a bit of a non sequitur. The high water mark for final bosses as representing a satisfying gameplay and story climax is I think still Final Fantasy VI.

        • Asinus says:

          “Uematsu’s wicked music (best work he’s ever done! I said it!)” 
          Way back when functioning PS emulators were new, I scrounged up a Playstation video ripper just to rip the video and music for that final scene. It was hard to believe back then that it was music for a video game. I also love how “Melodies of Life” bleeds into the “Final Fantasy Theme” at the end. Sometimes I like to pretend that the series ends there– though it’s hard to beat “500 years later…” especially as it was remade for Advent Children.

          As for what Necron is, I also assumed that it was some kind of representation/embodiment of hate. It still didn’t make a lot of sense, but I didn’t like Kajua as a villain, either. That was probably some kind of peak in androgynous character design– not that i have a problem with androgyny, but that tiny g-string thing he wears is embarrassing… there can’t be ANYTHING behind that, it’s pretty weird. He just wasn’t a credible threat– he was just way too impractical looking. I never finished VIII (but because I thought it sucked and completely forgot what I was even supposed to be doing), so in my mind, I was coming off Sepheroth and moving to Kajua… really disappointing. VII did such a great job of establishing Sepheroth as a badass and an incredibly powerful one through flashbacks and scenes of destruction, but IX failed to do that and made an annoying villain. 

    • alguien_comenta says:

      Man the PoP ending pissed me off, I spent about 20 minutes paralyzed then I tried finding other paths but no the game wanted me to, well if you have played it you know. It was an awful feeling.
      As for ME, the first two I was so hyped on the last mission (specially in the first one, the sequence from the trench run on the Mako to the storming of the Citadel is just great) but on the third one I was just feeling numb, I didn’t want to go. Then I got the scene with *SPOILERS* Shepard and Anderson on the top of the Crucible and it seemed so perfect… that is until Star Child fucked everything up

      • BarbleBapkins says:

        Grrrrr…. I hated that PoP ending as well. It makes sense from a narrative point of view, if it were a book or a movie instead of a game I don’t think it could have ended any other way, but it was frustrating as hell to go through with an option your character wants but you don’t.

        I disliked it so much I actually considered not finishing the game, but eventually did just to see how the story played out.

    • Fake_Chinese_Robert_Plant says:

      Thank god, someone else was too scared to finish Amnesia. (shudder)

    • Matthew Miller says:

      FFXII is the best in the series? Clearly you are forgetting FFX-2.

  8. Citric says:

    I always want games to end, because part of the joy of games for me is the progression towards an ultimate goal. I want a game to end because I want to reach my goal and then bask in my triumph.

    There are games that I’ve never finished, but that’s mostly because the developers thought that really tedious, multi-part bosses were super sweet while I look at the game sitting on the coffee table and think “god, I’m going to need an hour just to finish that stupid thing, I have stuff to do.”

  9. The_Misanthrope says:

    I’m not trying to be self-important here, but I’ve got a long list and I don’t want to hijack anyone’s thread:
    -Windham Classics’ Below the Root
    -Palace Software’s Cauldron II:  The Pumpkin Strikes Back
    -Nearly any Infocom game I’ve played, but Suspended is probably near the top.
    -The first act of Neuromancer
    Maniac Mansion
    -Three-Sixty Pacific’s Mac version of [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Castle ”Dark Castle”]

    • caspiancomic says:

       Hahaha, oh man, you got it bad. I guess you’ve got something in your personality that disposes you towards this sort of gaming. Although a lot of my all time favourite games are up there too, so I’m one to talk. In particular, Symphony of the Night, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Shining Force II are all in my top ten, maybe even top five favourites. Although I never quite felt the “I never want this to end!” itch with any of them. Still, they’re all games I’ve played soup to nuts a half dozen times at least.

    • The_Horse_Chestnut says:

      Funny to see someone mention Tomba (or Tombi as it is known here), as I just played through the game last week.
      I remember playing it as a demo all the way back on my PS1.Such a fun game, and I was pretty disappointed to realise that I had run out of events (except for the crappy gold medal race which I could not be bothered with).I had also forgotten how hard the game can be as well. Some specific levels (Lava Caves comes to mind) are so hard simply because you cannot see where you’re supposed to go, so you just end up jumping randomly into the abyss and hope you judged it correctly. I ended up having to draw a map of the area which I haven’t needed to do for a game in years.Now I need to “locate” a copy of Tombi 2, which I had played a bit more extensively.

      • caspiancomic says:

         I think I might have played the same demo (Official Playstation Magazine demo disc?), and I’ve been trolling used game stores for a copy of Tomba ever since. Even the demo had an absurdly huge amount of content. They’ve got to put that game on PSN with a quickness.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

          Tomba is totally awesome. I had my friend’s copy for a while after he sold his Playstation, but I gave it back to him after he got a PS3. I don’t think I ever finished it though, it was pretty difficult. 

    • Sarapen says:

      Chrono Cross had some poignant endings, you should really check them out some time. X-Com I can sympathize with simply because the assault on Cydonia was so goddamn long. I I got so sick of the whole thing that I stopped playing smart and just used WWI over-the-top tactics. I think like half my troops were dead by the end.

      But seriously, you’ve never finished any Civ game? How else can you crown yourself Emperor of the World and laugh maniacally atop a mountain of your enemies’ corpses? 

      I like looking at the line graph at the end and seeing the line for my civ shoot up and everyone else plummeting to the bottom. It’s pleasant to reminisce: “Ah yes, 525 AD, the year I exterminated the last Babylonian city. Rest in hell you greasy fucks. That’s what you get for not selling me elephants.”

      • Asinus says:

        My first real game of Civ (DOS) went on way past the end date. I really didn’t care about the time, it was all about the crushing. I was playing it with a friend over the course of a few weeks one summer (just for maybe a half hour or so a day) and we had this small, but highly developed home island. Once we felt we had an adequate army, we began a methodical roll over the world, and the replay was a thing to behold. I’d been reading books on Patton (that magnificent bastard) around that time (I was probably a weird kid) and was setting up pincer maneuvers, etc. I really love Civ for DOS. Yeah, it’s the same as WinCiv and NETCiv, just not as pretty, but there’s just something about the quaint simplicity of a virtual dice roll deciding combat. 

        For me, the series had a perfect balance of simplicity and micromanagement in 2 (though I understand the love for 4 and 5, 3 was fucking awful), but 1 still has its hilarious moments. E.g., making the first battle ship and pillaging the sea, bombarding newly discovered cities, destroying navies AND armies around the globe, and then getting sunk by settlers. Yeah, make a narrative in your head about an accident causing the magazine to explode or something, but what it comes down to is a 25-sided dice roll to a 1 sided dice role and tying. The HP system made that more or less impossible (very highly improbable) and I certainly don’t miss it, but it was a special quirk. 

        • dreadguacamole says:

           I may be mistaking it with other old strategy games, but didn’t you have to crush all the units before you defeated a rival civ? I have memories of inventing radar only to find a lost trireme hidden away on some remote corner of the fog of war, centuries after all their cities had been razed to the ground.

           I always thought that was kind of awesome. I’d toast their bravery and resourcefulness before sinking them with an ICBM or something.

        • Asinus says:

          @dreadguacamole:disqus , if you destroyed a city, all that city’s supported units outside of the city vanished. Inventing radar to hunt down a trireme is pretty great, though. 

        • dreadguacamole says:

          @The_Asinus:disqus Huh. I’m probably conflating Civ with Empire Deluxe again… there must have been tiny cities associated with those triremes.

    • Asinus says:

      Katamari Damacy shouldn’t have ended! 

      I forgot all about Shining Force! That was another good one that I probably could have just let go on indefinitely. The first one is just way, way too short.

    • doyourealize says:

      I meant to include the original Shining Force in my list, too. When I played that game, all the characters had conversations in my head, and they were much better developed than if you only read the dialogue. There was romance and betrayal and feelings of inadequacy. It was probably pretty dramatic, but I still felt close to those characters in a way the designers never meant.

      • caspiancomic says:

         Hahahahahah, oh thank God I’m not the only one. I do the exact same thing with the sequel, the characters as they exist in my head are much, much more detailed than they are in the actual game. I’ve actually sort of discreetly re-written the plot in small areas to suit my personal version of the game. In my head, Princess Eris is actually a classmate of Bowie’s, so that they actually know each other instead of meeting once for fifteen minutes and that being enough for Bowie to decide to traipse across hell’s half acre to rescue her. I’ve actually considered making a comic of “my” version of the story, but I figured it would be pretty work intensive. Maybe I’ll find a way to do it for relatively little energy and do it anyway.

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      HOLY CRAP, a fellow Below the Root fan?  I’ve hardly met anyone who’s even played that one!  It’s one of my all-time favorite games, and I still remember all the music perfectly.

      My father read me the books before he would let me play the game so I knew the whole story.  I played the game off and on for about three years before I finally finished it.  It was so much fun just to glide between trees searching for animals and people to “talk” to or read minds of.

      A few years back I found Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s website, and wrote her a thank you email.  She replied, and it turned out her husband composed all the music for the game!

      • The_Misanthrope says:

        Oddly enough, I have never read the books; Rather, my local library had a small but interesting selection of Commodore 64 games for some time, so I tried it out and loved it. The non-violent RPG elements, the culture, and trying to get everywhere I could using the shuba (the glider wings)–it was really compelling to my young mind. I did never finish because I kept having to return it to the library.

    • The_Forgotten_Quill says:

      Quick question: Is it even possible to finish the Oregon Trail other than dying of dysentery?  Seriously, I hope the world never requires me to forge new paths into the West. They will be terribly disappointed.

    • Colliewest says:

      The end of Out of this World is worth seeing.

  10. Chryso42 says:

    Schafer and company certainly seem to have a talent for building gorgeously detailed, cheerfully bizarre little worlds that graciously invite you to get completely lost for a while. While I STILL have not gotten to play ‘Fandango, I was definitely more than a little reluctant to finish my time with Sam and Max, and I was downright grateful for the added achievements in the newer editions of Psychonauts, just for the excuse to spend one more endless summer wandering the telekinetic bear-infested grounds of Camp Whispering Rock.

  11. Kilzor says:

    I played Final Fantasy VI for the first time in high school when I was going through some (at the time) Incredibly Dramatic Pining For A Girl.  It happened just as Christmas break started and I spent the entire time immersed in the game.  Needless to say, with that story full of romance, denied lovers, and, of course, the Opera Scene: I was incredibly lucky to pick the exact game that I needed to help me forget my troubles.  At the end of the break, I was near the end of the game, …and I simply put it down.  I didn’t want to spoil all the time I had spent with a cursory ending that wrapped everything up in five minutes, and I didn’t want to say good-bye to the characters.  I played it through three more times over the next five or so years before I finally bit the bullet and ran the ending.  Obviously, I had made the right choice from the very beginning.  The Opera Scene still does it for me every time.

  12. scottiedo says:

    My pick would be Journey on PSN. At about 2 hours in length it was over before it began. As soon as I finished it I played it again. 

    (Mild spoiler) In a way the structure of the game allows you to play it forever, but I would have loved to have more variety and length to the existing levels. 

    On the other hand, maybe I love the game so much because it didnt over stay its welcomes, continually surprised me, and hit so many emotional cues in such a small space of time. 

    • Asinus says:

      And how did it hit so many emotional buttons?? Damn, that game company can imply so much without using a single word. I wonder if they could sustain a game for more than a few hours. I don’t know if they need to, but I wonder if they could. Love the music in Journey so much.

      She’s just a small town girl… wait.. no. 

  13. scottiedo says:

    Anyone who follows the beyond podcast over at IGN would be familiar with a fan made song/clip that totally sums up the emotions involved in finishing a game you love – The World is Saved. It’s pretty neat: 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBzqOa9y02I

    • The_Forgotten_Quill says:

      Has always been one of my favorites…

      And, I’ll admit, I can’t help but tear up toward the end.

  14. TomElman says:

    The main one for me would be final fantasy tactics advance. i played the shit out of it trying to level up all of my characters and control all of the areas, and by doing that getting more characters joining me in need of leveling up and more areas to defend against attack. then i reached what i assumed was the final mission set and thought that i still had so much to do before finishing the thing, set my gba down and never played the game again.

    • Destroy Him My Robots says:

      Ha! Somehow I knew this would come up. Mewt should’ve probably been on the banner image for this article.

      • TomElman says:

        just writing that made me want to pick up the game again (just max out some jobs, not to beat it) but i know i would never be able to get back into it…

        • Destroy Him My Robots says:

          Hey, I actually just got back into FFTA2 myself after Valkyria Chronicles reignited my interest in tactical combat. Took me about an hour to get an overview over my clan, abilities, equipment and missions again, but I’m back.

    • Girard says:

       I did this multiple times with FFTA2, there were just SO MANY missions, and I’d always want to exhaust the available missions before doing the given “make the story proceed” mission – I’d spend hours dawdling completing ancillary missions, then get tired of it, or get cold feet about advancing without completing everything, and set it aside, only to pick up months (or a year) later with no recollection of what the story or motivation was.

      Eventually I beat it, more or less by accident. I was so out of touch with the story, I had no idea the mission I was going into was the final mission, and I was so overpowered by doing all the side missions that the final boss wasn’t “final boss” hard. But then the credits rolled, and I felt a tremendous ludic albatross fall from around my neck.

  15. Mercenary_Security_number_4 says:

    Is it lame if I pick Fallout 3?  Oh well, I will anyway.  The main quest was too short and the world is too awesome.  After putting several hundred hours into it and NV, the best I can do now is play Skyrim like its Fallout without the guns (which it basically is, love it or hate it Bethesda pretty much just keeps tweaking and re-releasing the same game).

    • Glen H says:

      Do they? I’m only just starting FO3 now, and haven’t played a Bethesda game before, but one of the things I’m really loving about it is the survivalist feel that having to do things like scrounge around for ammo and drink irradiated tap water gives the game. I can’t imagine a high fantasy RPG doing the same.

      (That said it might feel a little more survivalist for me because (a) I’m hopeless at directions and actually managed to get wildly lost on the way to Megaton and (b) I’m terrible at FPSs and making effective character builds.)

      • SamPlays says:

        The variety of options for building your character are enormous and you’ll never really move beyond a handful unless you play multiple iterations of the games. My general approach was to build up my weapons and defense, become mediocre at hacking to access terminals throughout the game and stay focused on perks that help you advance more quickly with your upgrades. My primary reason for focusing on guns was because a goddamn flying insect kicked my ass the first time I went outside of Megaton. 

        That said, I rarely felt like Fallout 3 was much of a FPS game due to its nifty targeting system, which was probably developed to cover up the fact that you really can’t play the game as a traditional FPS. Anyways, I hope you enjoy your game and make sure you make a stop in Andale. Creepy, creepy stuff.

      • SamPlays says:

        Oh, and make sure you hold onto any bottles of Nuka Cola Quantum that you come across. They’ll come in handy for the Nuka Cola Challenge.

      • AHyperkineticLagomorph says:

         I’m not trying to sound insulting but, is there some sort of amusing anecdote behind getting lost on the way to Megaton, a city which, if I remember correctly, is pretty much in view of Vault 101 when you exit?

        Unless you went in the school, first, got attacked, and ended up running and screaming away.

        • Glen H says:

          Heh, not really, I’m just terrible at directions. After I saw the first sign pointing to Megaton I wondered off the road to go exploring and cleared out the school (leaving me with nothing but a pipe and a handful of grenades). Having only seen the first sign I assumed Megaton was across the river and just set off in that direction rather than returning to the road.

    • Staggering Stew Bum says:

      My Fallout 3 experience happily coincided with a period of sustained unemployment a couple of years ago. It’s as if the universe was saying “You’ve earned a rest Stew Bum, and here’s something that’s better than real life to blow away a couple of months of misery. Don’t forget to take advantage of the Bloody Mess perk.” It’s amazing how blowing the heads off Super Mutants with an assault rifle takes the edge off being a worthless bum.

      • Sarapen says:

        Oh man, I was the same with Oblivion. It was basically a full-time job. By the time I finished Shivering Isles I’d sunk 400 hours into it all.

      • doyourealize says:

        The second time I played through FO3, I had the same experience. Unemployed, feeling kind of useless. I liked it enough the first time, but something really resonated with me that second playthrough. Oh, and that’s also the playthrough I blew up Megaton.

  16. HobbesMkii says:

    I think Close Combat V: Invasion Normandy was this was for me. It’s not a narrative game, but a pretty straightforward top-down hand-drawn RTS game, albeit one with an incredibly advanced cover and morale system. Like an RTS Avalon Hill. The game’s AI is kind of…well, not smart. So it doesn’t take much effort to play as the Allies and totally overrun the Germans, or play as the Germans and wipe out the Allied assault on Day 1, even playing on the hardest difficulty. I purposefully made a lot of bad strategic calls in order to give the Germans more time to get their reinforcements. It was an odd sort of fondness I developed for that game. On the one hand, the pushover AI robbed the game of its thrill, sometimes turning continuing battles into dull slogs where you roamed around mopping up enemy troops short on ammo, fuel, and morale. On the other, there’s something to be said about a game that’s fun enough that it get’s you to shoot yourself in the foot, just to give that AI more of a fighting chance.

  17. Girard says:

    I don’t know if it’s exactly the same thing, but throughout high school (the PS1 golden era or JRPGs) and early undergrad (the golden era of my emulating all of the SNES rpgs I’d never played), my name became synonymous with the peculiar practice of playing an RPG right up to the end point (usually right at the final boss, sometimes just before storming the final castle), then setting it aside indefinitely, sometimes picking it up ages later and completing it to see and end sequence I had completely forgotten the context and relevance of. My friends described this as “pulling a Luke” on a game, typically when I was doing it, but also if they happened to have a game suspended in a similar limbo.

    My reasons for doing this typically weren’t “It’s so good, I don’t want it to end!” so much as getting my ass handed to me by the final boss and getting discouraged, or becoming kind of paralyzed by choice / lost in endless sidequests during that point in the game (especially common in Final Fantasies) where the world opens up and you can elect to travel freely around completing subquests before flying to the final crater/tower/whatever to battle the last boss, or some other reason.

    The fact that I did it so much, though, perhaps indicates that while each instance had a different conscious justification, maybe they were all linked by a similar anxiety about decisively finishing the experience. I have a distinct memory of being about five and getting slightly anxious whenever I ate a sandwich (or whatever) and got to the point where the remainder was so small I could no longer take a bite, but had to just stick it in my mouth and declare the sandwich done. I remember taking exponentially smaller and smaller bites to stave off completion, essentially “pulling a Luke” on my cheeseburger (or what have you). So maybe there’s some underlying predilection at play.

    Now, with time so short and games to play so plentiful, I have way fewer qualms about wrapping things up and getting on to other things. I got up to about the level VII marks in FFXII, decided, eh, that’s enough, time to do something else, and flew over to hand the final boss’s ass to him. (It was kind of weird that the final boss was so much easier than whatever reskinned regular enemies I was fighting as marks at the time. It made me feel like this ultimate insane evil was less a threat to the world than the exceptionally large marlboro or whatever I’d just been battling…)

    • The_Horse_Chestnut says:

      I actually do something similar, though mainly when I replay games. I generally find the endings of most RPGs rather pointless (not in terms of quality, just in terms of my overall enjoyment of a game).
      Though there is one game that I have (nearly) completed several times, only to completely lost interest in the final dungeon – Wild Arms 1.

      Actually, I have a problem with just giving up on games for no reason, and then trying to return to them, only to find that I need to start over again, simply because I forget the exact specifics of how I was developing my characters.
      So then, naturally, I become incredibly bored with the opening of games, having had to repeat them multiple times, yet still giving up when I end up reaching the parts of the game I intended to enjoy.

      Perhaps this has something to do with why I only really find that I enjoy MMOs these days. *ponders*

      • caspiancomic says:

         For what it’s worth, the ending to Wild Arms 1 is actually really good. The final sequence has probably the best music in the game, too, and that’s a huge compliment considering the quality of that game’s music.

        Although Wild Arms does also have a ton of awesome endgame content. Lots of optional bosses and dungeons, some really great hidden equipment (If you get the Sheriff Star, you win the game. Seriously), that whole subquest where you pay increasing amounts of money to repair that city, there’s the hidden magician’s guild or whatever, an arena… man, that game is amazing. Supposedly Wild Arms 2 is a classic on equal footing, but I always get bored of it after about ten hours and stop playing altogether. It happened when I first played it as a kid, and it happened again as recently as last year.

        • Girard says:

           One of my best friends in high school had Wild Arms, so I watched it a lot, and may have borrowed it once, but didn’t get far into it. Despite my only cursory experience with the game, I can still whistle that insanely catchy opening tune from memory.

  18. dreadguacamole says:

     At the risk of sounding somewhat obsessive, Planescape:Torment.
     The sense of wanting to see things through usually wins over not wanting things to end for me, but Torment’s rich world, and the growing feeling that it’s not going to end well as all the pieces fall into place…
     I love that game.

     Morrowind and most of the original lucasarts adventures also had that effect on me; it seems to be something I felt more when I was younger, for some reason.

    • Sarapen says:

      You know, I keep re-installing Planescape: Torment and then losing interest after recruiting like only one other character. I don’t know what it is about the game, maybe it’s the grim and gritty setting? 

      I did way better with the Baldur’s Gate trilogy and finished Shadows of Amn after a year and a half. I think the goal of killing Elminster kept me going, though reading online hints reveals that I missed my last chance. Oh well, I got to murder Drizzt twice which is almost as good. Still have to finish the last part where you-know-who joins your party.

      Anyway, maybe PST’s dank sewers and crypts are turning me off versus BG’s bright marketplaces and forests. I should just store my saves so when I uninstall PST again at least I’ll keep my progress.

      • dreadguacamole says:

         That’s cool, a lot of people don’t like it – though most of the time it’s the walls of text or the relatively slow beginning that turns them off. You’re right in that it’s fairly gritty for such an out-there setting, but it does get more colorful later on. It stays grim all the way, though.

      •  I get sad when the non-linear portion of Baldur’s Gate 2 ends, and you’re kind of on rails to the ending.  And Throne of Bhaal is all rails and really disappointing in that regard.

  19. TomElman says:

    this is semi-related but anyone got any games they really enjoyed, and probably would have finished, logging in crazy hours, but because of some errant problem; a crash that makes you loose save data or even just a death that causes you to lose a heap of prgress (probably because you forgot to save), you set down the game never to touch it again?
    For me that happened in both the witcher and kotor. And it really bugs me because no matter how many times i think about wanting to play again or even reinstalling, i just can’t bring myself to start playing again. 

    • Electric Dragon says:

      I had a lot of crash problems with The Witcher, and discovered that sometimes when it tried to autosave, it conflicted with my AVG antivirus. Regular saves never caused this. So I ditched AVG and went to ZoneAlarm and didn’t have any problems after that. Other recommendations I’ve seen are to exclude the saves folder from on-access scanning.

    • Girard says:

       I vividly remember my first experience of this was with Final Fantasy Legend III on the gameboy (also my very first JRPG). I was very, very close to the end of the game, and on a school trip a friend tried the game out when we were killing time at the hotel room, and promptly saved his fresh new game over my nearly completed one. I think it took me over a year before I could bring myself to start it over.

    • The_Forgotten_Quill says:

      I have several examples:

      Bioshock: It was the fist FPS I ever played (and I do mean ever) and at first it just seemed impossible. I would play for awhile, die my hundredth frustrating, agonizing death by some random splicer I never saw coming and rage quit. I did that several times until I finally realized I was “getting better at this.” Finally finished, but I played that game off and on for three years before I saw the boss.

      FFXII: I had a problem leveling my characters without wanting to pull my hair out. It was such a frustratingly long process for me to get anywhere near able to get through a dungeon comfortably. I was grinding through this one mountainside dungeon and (as FF games are want to do) came across a strange pillar only to find myself transported into a room with some random boss I had no business facing. I lost about 6 hours of grinding and never picked it up again.

      Shadow of the Colossus: For everyone who raves about this game, I am the one who rage quit. I won’t get into the details because, well, everyone else loves the game, but all I can see it a haze of red every time someone mentions it. Never. Again.

      • Professor_Cuntburglar says:

         Was it for the final colossus? Because that almost made me rage quit. I love that game to death, but the final colossus is like one of my least favorite levels of all time.

        • The_Forgotten_Quill says:

          I quit on Celosia (Colossi 11)…and here’s why.

          Your experience: Celosia knocks the burning stick free. You pick it up. Battle ensues.

          My experience: I pick up the stick. Celosia drives me into the ground. I lay there for 5 seconds and stand back up. Celosia drives me into the ground. Repeat until death.

          All the time. Every time.
          I tried for hours.
          I tried for days.
          I literally tried for weeks.
          I finally broke down and hit the Internet.
          I watched videos.
          I read walkthroughs.
          I was never fast enough.
          I was never able to recover from a blow.
          I was never able to finish this beautiful game.

          My rage stems from this seemingly small, insignificant obstacle that basically killed any hope of progress. 

          If anyone wants to come over and show me how to right my wrong, you’re more than welcome. I’ll even throw a party in your honor.

          Until then, I’m done. And I hate it.

        • Professor_Cuntburglar says:

           @The_Forgotten_Quill:disqus Oh yeah, that one kind of sucks, too.

          The trick is to say in the little nooks next to the fire pillars, where he can’t get you. If you do get stuck in an infinite loop of getting knocked down before you can run away, you have to point the control stick towards the nook and press the dodge button repeatedly. If you you’re lucky, when your guy gets up he’ll jump out of the way just in time.

    • Merve says:

      I spent several months beating almost every scenario in RollerCoaster Tycoon. With only a couple left to go, my hard drive crashed. My tween self was devastated.

    • Asinus says:

      I didn’t finish Hexen II for a long time because of a bug where save games would get corrupted. The patch fixed it, but by then I’d made it to The Stables and gotten fucked by that bug so many times that I didn’t go all the way through for years. 

      Games with save points in general can lead me to leaving and never coming back (at least not for a long, long time). Newer games with save points (why they exist is still a mystery) are better about continuing where you left off, or darn close to it, but when I get killed by something stupid or have to sit through endless dialogue again, I often shut the game off. 

      I just downloaded Ys: Oath in Flagellum or whatever and it has save points. I got glitched and was stuck in a fucking wall after about 2 hours of wandering (and gear finding) since the last save point. I was sure I was done with the game, but did go back… but I was so frustrated. Fun game, though.

    • caspiancomic says:

       For me, it was Beyond Good and Evil. I played this game a lot, and really loved it, particularly my well documented love of the photography sidequest. But in the final leg of the game, I accidentally triggered certain plot scenes out of order, and locked myself out of the next step of the game. I had saved my game after this happened without realizing it, so my only option was to blow away my save game and start over, but I just didn’t have the morale. I traded it in not long after that, and it would be a long time before I plucked up the nerve to play it again.

  20. Back when I only got new games at birthdays and Christmas, I was loathe to actually finish games. In both FF2 and FF3, I would get as far as the final dungeon, then I’d stop playing for a few weeks, and start a brand new playthrough without going through all the final grinding.

    On the other hand, when I rented a game, I would blitz through it as fast and far as possible. 

  21. indy2003 says:

    Jumping off from Steve Heisler’s feelings on Dark Souls: I feel more or less the same way about Demon’s Souls. Just at the point where I felt I was ready to take on just about anything, I was at the finish line. I quickly fell in love with the world of that game and felt genuinely saddened when I arrived at the conclusion. A harsh, brutal, unforgiving place at times, but one which I was constantly eager to jump back into. It’s one of those games you’re constantly thinking about even when you’re not playing it; you’re constantly running through the details of that complicated path or that punishing boss fight in your mind. I remain deeply in love with the warmth and beauty of The Nexus; it felt strangely comforting to be able to return there after a hard-fought journey through yet another punishing level (that’s actually part of the reason I’ve been less enamored with Dark Souls – Firelink Shrine simply isn’t an adequate substitute).

    • doyourealize says:

      (Just so everyone knows, it’s obligatory for me to reply to anything related to Demon’s/Dark Souls).

      I said it earlier, but the beauty of the Souls games is that they don’t have to end! You can just keep playing, and the enemies keep getting tougher. You can’t even collect everything in one playthrough…you need 3+ playthroughs! I logged probably 1000+ hours into Demon’s Souls, and I’m not exaggerating, although I’m not sure that’s something to be proud of.

      Also, I would say Demon’s Souls is my favorite of the two, but I absolutely love returning to Firelink Shrine. When those strings kick in, feels like I’m home every time.

      • indy2003 says:

        Oh, I’m definitely planning to dive into NG+ sometime soon (only discovered the series within the past year) – and I imagine that it will be a considerably different experience with the items I collected the first time around and with the increased difficulty level. 1000+ hours? That’s quite something. My first playthrough was in the 65-70 hour range, and I felt I was proceeding at a pretty slow pace. Considering the stack of games I had to get to at the time, I would have felt guilty about devoting that much time to yet another playthrough right away.

        Am I imagining things, or is Dark Souls a hell of a lot harder than Demon’s Souls? The latter was certainly tough, but never unfair. However, there are moments when Dark Souls feels almost gleefully sadistic.

        • doyourealize says:

          I was unemployed at the time, and Demon’s Souls just came along at the perfect time in my life. I beat the game multiple times with 10 or 12 characters, took part in plenty PvP nights (though I was never better than average), created a new PSN account so I wouldn’t have to delete on of the four on my first account.

          I think Dark Souls is definitely harder. In fact, I think they touted that as a feature when they released the game. Four Kings and Gwyn come to mind, not mention the number of areas when you’re forced into an ambush. As far as replay goes, there’s just so much you can do with character quests and special items that can keep you coming back. It’s one of those games that gives you more to look forward to once you actually “complete” it.

  22. NFET says:

    This describes Okami for me perfectly. I still have all those Stray Beads! I don’t want to end it yet!

    • Ragnarick says:

      Right there with you.  Actually, my old PS3 shit the bed a few months ago so I’ve been unable to play any old PS2 classics on my new one.  With Okami being my favorite I was pretty bummed…

      Until I saw this slap of awesomeness to my stupid face:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CC2vSGDaj3E

      • duwease says:

        WHAT???  OKAMI HD?!?!  WHAT?!?!?111

      • Asinus says:

        Do you still have your fat PS3 or did you send it in and get a slim one to replace it? (and with no PS2 emulation, they should have thrown in one of those, too) 

        My slim red screened and yellow lighted– I took it apart and reseated the heatsinks– the thermal compound had become a chalky insulator. That was several months back and it’s been a champ since then… though it seems like the early ones failed in much worse ways (broken solder, cracked circuits… stuff like that). 

      • LoadRanPimp420 says:

        mmm…cool. but graphically the game looks the same as the ps2 one. the graphics and edges are sharper, but the look of the game is unchanged….not to say thats bad the game looks great

        i guess what Im saying is that i realllly want to see a current generation Okami, built from the ground up

    •  I stopped playing Okami shortly after a point when the game actually seemed like it should have ended, but there was still so much of the world to explore, with more stories to uncover. Having left it at that point, the whole game still seems so immense, to the point of actually feeling alive in my memory. While I have the game for Wii (unwieldy battle controls and all) perhaps the upcoming HD rerelease is just what I need to get back into it.

  23. capthammock says:

    I had an experience similar to Agnello’s Ocarina of Time confusion. I bought Portal and Portal 2 together for like $8 off Steam and stared playing Portal with two things in my mind: that it was originally part of the Orange Box, which made me think it would be more of a half-game, pseudo-demo, casual experience, and a search result on Google in which someone asked on a message board “What does the ending of Portal mean?”

    Also: spoilers ahead if you haven’t played the first Portal yet.

    So I played the game and got to the part in Chamber 19 where the platform starts lowering into the fire, died a few times, and then realized what to do, ending up on that mezzanine with the giant fan in the ceiling. I got a little further and then got stuck. Instead of looking for a solution, I thought, “I guess this is it. I guess this is the mysterious ‘What does it all mean?’ ending, with you just stuck in a room somewhere.'” and I saved and exited the game. Again, I kept thinking it was a demo-ish puzzle-style game with no real plot or anything.

    A week later, for the hell of it, I reloaded the game, and realized I could go a little further, then a little further, then a little further, and the game just kept going and going for hours, and finally I got to GLaDOS what an absolute moron I was.

    Still, it was pretty awesome to repeatedly discover that the game wasn’t quite over with yet.

  24. Effigy_Power says:

    Fable 3… I know it’s not a universally beloved title and about as flawed as any Molyneux title, but after promising all these people to help them in return for their help in my revolution, only to perhaps have to let them down… it was rough for me.
    When the final decisions have to be taken and you decide to break your promises, you are bombarded with so much guilt and disappointment that it’s pretty hard not to feel bad. Especially the Desert-people took it badly.
    I didn’t play the game for a while beyond the first half, not wanting to make those decisions (until I eventually realized that it’s actually perfectly simple to beat the “money=lives saved” system).

    Another game I can barely finish is Dragon Age Origins, because I know all the terrible things that will happen, all the decisions I have to take and that I can’t possibly get everyone to end up where I want.
    The choice to back Harrowmont or Behlen is heart-wrenchingly political especially… back the tyrant who is good for his people in the field of breaking up the old rules or the warm and friendly traditionalist, who will likely mean stagnation.
    Having to make these choices and ending a long journey with characters who become as close as friends can be NPC-wise (with the exception of Garrus, who is just so damn good) is pretty tough and I avoid it as often as I can.

    Also, FFXII is the only FF I ever truly enjoyed playing, and I enjoyed it a lot… the fact that the encounters weren’t random and the screen didn’t blast into shards every 10 steps was wonderful.

    • STOP_RIGHT_THERE_CRIMINAL_SCUM says:

      I had to screw over the desert people in Fable 3 and I STILL got almost all of Albion killed

      man did I feel like an asshole

  25. The World Ends With You. For once in my life, I actually kept replaying bits, trying to collect 100% of the objects and pins and whatnot, which I never ever do. (OK, so I did 100% Psychonauts)

    I gave up after about a further twenty hours of pointlessly grinding away farming money and buying items, but still. I just couldn’t bear to let it go.

    Conversely, Final Fantasy VII (partly by the same people!) is one of the few games that’s actually gotten me to a point of “OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE HOW MUCH LONGER DOES THIS GO ON FOR”. I never did finish it.

    • Did you ever actually beat the final boss of The World Ends With You? It has some of my favorite post-credits replayability ever. I played that game for weeks after “completing” it.

    • caspiancomic says:

       Oh yeah, I’m “playing” The World Ends With You right now. I wouldn’t put it under this heading exactly, since you can still play the entire game to your heart’s content even after beating the final boss, but yeah, this is a game that I beat and just kept playing. I, too, decided that this time around I was going to 100% it. But man… there’s a lot of content in this game! I’ve fought all the Noise now, but I still don’t own all the items, I don’t have anywhere near all the Pins, I haven’t unlocked every drop from every Noise, and my ESPer rank is pathetically low.

      Also, the hidden superboss is really hard. I’ve beaten him once on Easy, just to unlock the Secret Report, but even with a level 100 Neku and Joshua with the best endgame Threads and stupidly powerful Pins, he still whips my ass even on Normal. And I haven’t cleared the hidden boss rush mode either, so as far as the game is concerned I haven’t even “finished” yet. This game has pretty high expectations of its players.

      Still, I do love this game very dearly. My newest pair of headphones is blue, in honour of Neku’s purple Jupiter of the Monkey phones. Plus, I ordered a Player Pin to wear on my bag, so if I ever get struck down by a car or whatever I can play the Game for realsies. And sometimes I still go to the scramble crossing at Yonge and Dundas, fire up It’s So Wonderful on my iPod, and just chill.

      • I was looking at buying some of the pins, but yanno, international shipping. I also made a stencil so I could spraypaint my DS with the player logo, but never got around to getting the paint and lost the stencil.

        I guess you could say I’m a fan but super lazy.

        I do have a piece of B&W TWEWY fan art as the BIOS splash screen on my new PC, if that helps.

    • NFET says:

      The World Ends With You is beautiful like that. I got all the secret reports and everything and I still felt like it was unfinished. Of course, getting all the pins would be an insane task, so I haven’t put honest effort in to that yet, but I want to.

  26. evanwaters says:

    I often kinda lose interest getting to the final boss stage, because at that point the game has no more to discover- it’s just a question of playing through one last, usually much harder stage over and over until you win. 

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

         I agree with you on that one.  Once the endless possibilities of a game narrow down to one last thin obligation, the whole point of the game kind of dims for me.  Also, it’s not as though game endings are the most amazing, either.

      • Girard says:

         That is extremely succinct, well-put, and pins down the thinking behind that particular habit (which I share) in a way I hadn’t ever been able to verbalize.

    • Alkaron says:

      Have you played Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem for Gamecube? I talk about it in my post below, but its final confrontation is utterly satisfying, both by incorporating the gameplay tricks you’ve learned over the course of the game AND by serving as an encapsulation and summation of the story and themes woven throughout the game. Far from feeling like an obligation, it felt like the climax to an epic.

    • NFET says:

      Completely agree. That’s what lost me when I played Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded. The final stretch was just re-doing things, only extra hard.

  27. Grim Fandango for me.  Never wanted that game to end.

    • Electric Dragon says:

       It’s not so much that I didn’t want the game to end – by that stage I really wanted to get to the end to see the plot through for a satisying ending (sometimes a great ending is what you want) – but that I never wanted to leave Rubacava. Such an awesomely rendered town, with great locations and design. I never got tired of going over that bridge with “Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe” playing.

  28. PPPfive says:

    Dragon Quest 8. I have played through it nearly 3 times now (about 400 hours in total) but I don’t want to complete the third save. Maybe if someone knows when I am going to die, to the day, I’ll complete it a day or so before i shuffle off this mortal coil

  29. Mookalakai says:

    I guess I did this in Fable 3, I held off on the final mission so I could save up enough to pay for all the “good” choices for the kingdom and so that everyone in my kingdom would survive. It didn’t actually take that long with real estate piling up, and it certainly was not worth it when I was done, because then I literally had nothing to do. And now I feel bad about making around 13 million gold, and using to save the lives of a world of people who thinking farting is HILARIOUS.

    • STOP_RIGHT_THERE_CRIMINAL_SCUM says:

      I dropped the ball in Fable 3 and wound getting practically everyone in Albion killed through my whole “nice guy” routine 

      it’s actually kind of hilarious to wander around empty cities and streets though, it’s like a fantasy version of The Stand

  30. George_Liquor says:

    I’ve been ducking the main story line in Fallout: New Vegas for, well, years now in favor of running through all the side quests. However, the game I’ve most conscientiously avoided finishing is Aquaria. I love the mood that game puts me in. With its lush score, its gorgeous artwork and its fluid sense of motion, Aquaria is like a digital quaalude.

    • The_Forgotten_Quill says:

      I’m the Side Quest Queen. 
      I love to wring every possible drop from games as rich as Fallout, Red Dead Redemption, Final Fantasy or any good RPG. I tend to turn it into an art, trying to see just how much I can possibly do without progressing the story line. 

      Maybe it’s part “not wanting it to end” and part “wanting to experience everything.” I always feel like heading straight to the next part of the story line is cheating yourself out of intricacies of the world. 

      Also, I learned a lesson from playing Tri-Ace games: If you discover something off the beaten path, do it now…it might not be there later.

  31. Colonel Mustard says:

    Of all the FF…homages, my favorite was The Legend of Dragoon, and when I realized I was getting towards the end, I started wandering around and grinding up the combo levels, as well as switching characters in and out just so I could enjoy their Dragon powers over and over again.  Just reading this article makes me want to dig out the PS1 so I can play it again.

  32. While I never hesitated to press on with it, I’ll always long for more adventures in the world of Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door. No other RPG has so enthralled me with its stories and settings, from wonderful atmosphere of Rougeport to the lush splendor of The Great Boggly Tree (a blend of Miyazaki and Pikmin, of all things) to the intrigue of Glitz and Glory to the twists and turns of For Pigs the Bell Tolls, the whole thing unfolded like the kind of adventure series that excited me as a child. Add to that the sly comedy of the Bowser plot, and one of the best uses of Peach in any game to date, PM:TYD remains a benchmark for me as both a video game and a narrative.

    • BarbleBapkins says:

      Thousand Year Door! That game is great, it really does have a wonderful, hilarious story and setting. I haven’t played it in years, I should go back to it one day.

  33. Reifidom says:

    Several games actually come to mind, many named here, but the standout for me is Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete. I lingered in that game as much as I could, getting every last item and probably stepping on every piece of every section of map.

  34. Carlton_Hungus says:

     I’ve never gotten to the point of putting down a game because of fear it will end, though I definitely feel the dread.  My usual strategy is to work towards 100%ing (is that a verb) the game before beating the final boss.

    This tends to work well on two levels: 1) it satisfies my completionist nature while giving me something to look forward to, rather than beating the game then chasing down all the MacGuffins and side-qeusts; and 2) there is a Dunbar from Catch-22 like strategy that by by performing these boring tasks my perception of time slows extending the game.

    This applies to pretty much any good RPG but the game that sticks out most in my mind is Shadow of the Colossus.  Chasing down lizards and fruit is both boring yet also rewarding in getting to ride silently across the forbidden land.  While it may not be the most exciting it’s worth it to extend my time in that world rather than facing the dread I only have one colossus left.

  35. Professor_Cuntburglar says:

    When I first played Windwaker, once I got to the Tower of the Gods I was worried I had almost beaten the game, so I went around and explored all the random little islands first. Of course, once I finally beat the Tower I realized that there was still like a third of the game left.

    I do this on a lot of games, actually. For some reason, finding all the little bonus items and whatnot becomes much less compelling once you beat the final story mission.

  36. Alkaron says:

    Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem had me right from the beginning. Everything was just so high-stakes! The fate of the world hung in the balance; the odds were stacked mercilessly against the human race; even the characters you played as were likely to wind up dead by the end of each level. The gameplay was fine but not incredible on its own merits (with the exception of the insanity effects, natch); I was really playing to advance the story, to come that much closer to saving humanity from the Ancients. The multiple characters and despair-choked atmosphere really brought home the feeling of fighting tooth-and-nail just to take one small step forward. It was epic, in the truest sense of the word.

    I was so invested in the story that I was sad when I began to sense it wrapping up. When Alex Roivas finally activates the portal leading to the final confrontation, I saved and set the game aside for a while. When I eventually fired it up again to finish it out, I was impressed by how the designers managed to incorporate all those other characters into the final fight. It’s a perfect culmination of the game’s themes: people from different times and places, all banding together and doing their small part to save the world. (If you’ve played it, you know what I’m talking about.) 

    I’ve never played another game that so satisfyingly encapsulates the entirety of its story and themes into a single boss fight. It’s absolutely flawless, and it’s why Eternal Darkness will always be at the top of my favorite-games list.

    • STOP_RIGHT_THERE_CRIMINAL_SCUM says:

      my only problem with Eternal Darkness is that the enemies were lame and not scary (ok, some of the zombies/mummies were a tad creepy)

      they looked more like they belonged in a Doom clone shooter than a true blue horror game, it’s a shame because everything ELSE was scary, the atmosphere, the music, the insanity effects, the story, but the art department really dropped the ball on the monster designs 

      still a classic game though

  37. Aileen MacKay says:

    I don’t know if this exactly counts, but when I was younger, my uncle’s family came to live with us for a little while, and of course the most important thing about that event was that they brought with them entirely new computer games-including the free/shareware portion of Castle of the Winds. I played through and beat the two sections available, at which point it a) gave you a plug to get the final for-pay chapter, and b) let you play as your character indefinitely to prepare them for that final chapter. Dungeons would randomly re-populate with generic monsters, and although levels wouldn’t re-generate or get new treasure, some monsters dropped items and shops had randomly generated inventory. So you could basically go on forever grinding and trying to get new enchanted items and all the spells and you could drop items and set up something that looked like a base in the lowest level and have gelatinous cubes come scoop up all your stuff so you had to hunt them down and re-set up your base and… yeah basically I probably played the grinding dungeon base version of the game more than the actual game.

    One day years later I had my own money, and I finally bought that final chapter… only to find that it took you to a new town with infinitely better loot, and my painstakingly gathered collection of rare items got outclassed a few levels into the new dungeon, and also there was nothing there I needed to be nearly as prepared for as I was. I beat the whole thing handily. On re-plays I tried both going back and grinding and preparing for the final chapter again like old times, and stopping one level before the end of the final chapter and grinding and preparing then, but knowing that I was already plenty prepared as I was took all of the fun out of it. I still miss that other version of the game, and I still have a copy that I move from computer to computer for nostalgia’s sake.

    • doyourealize says:

      I’ve never heard of this game, but this made me go look it up, to which I find that it is unplayable with 64-bit Windows OS. Too bad, because it seems like something I’d like to try.

      I’m sure it could never beat the experience you had with it, though. Those experiences, before you became inundated with too many new releases to ever play. Before you became a critic yourself to make sure you’re not wasting your time on lesser releases. Before you gave up on games after 10 minutes because there was something else a click away, and this one didn’t grab you yet. When you had your Apple II or Nintendo or Atari 2600 and one, maybe two games. Those experiences where, since that’s all you had to play, you played it into Oblivion. Your story is one of those experiences (and I have mine, as I’m sure we all do), and other people might be able to play the same game, but they won’t experience it like you did.

  38. DrZaloski says:

    The most recent game I can remember that I really wanted to keep on going was Bastion. The game is fairly short, but the entire thing was so stellar. It felt complete, but I just didn’t want it to be complete yet. But the only games I actually delayed were Pokemon Emerald, Wind Waker and Paper Mario TTYD. They were all long games, so it wasn’t that hard to delay, but I found myself resisting need to fight the final four, or to finally face the Shadow Queen, or taking on the next dungeon.

    There’s other games I don’t want to end, like KOTOR, or Psychonauts, but those games I was completely satisfied at the end, and I didn’t feel the urge to delay.

  39. gambrinus says:

    For me it was Baldur’s Gate II.  I played through three times, with a Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic lead, trying to 100% it each time.  That was something like 300+ hours clocked.  So good.  Strangely, I hated Throne of Bhaal for some reason.

    Also for some reason I came close to 100 percenting FFX even though I’m fairly certain I hated that game.  Cleared the whole super-monster arena, which was some of the most tedious bullshit ever.  Except for the lightning-dodging, which I also did.  (It was actually fairly easy once you found the rhythm.)  God, I’m pissed off just thinking about all the bullshit that game made you do to get everybody’s ultimate weapons.

    Oh, and SMT: Nocturne probably counts too.  I 100%ed that at least twice.

    • Sarapen says:

      It’s hard as hell trying to assemble an Evil party in BG2. I had Imoen (for roleplaying purposes), Korgan, Edwin, Viconia, and Anomen (he was actually just Chaotic Neutral after I got him fired and refused to have sex with him or whatever that alignment change sidequest was). 

      It took me weeks of replays before I finally beat Irenicus but apparently it’s easier for Good parties. First I sacrificed Korgan in that one challenge, leaving me one man short. It was either that or lose stats and hey, that’s just how Evil bitches roll. Then when I asked for advice online some useless dick told me I should just get a paladin in the party so I could use that one anti-demon sword after I specifically said I was doing an all-Evil playthrough. Apparently Carsomyr is pretty nifty, though.

      But good god, how could anyone 100% FFX? That was some dire shit despite Lulu’s heroic efforts at teasing the player with the possibility of a titfuck after every battle. After like the 20th time I just had to let go of all hope of there being any redeeming quality to the game.

  40. Swadian Knight says:

    I have a frequent ‘problem’ that manifests whenever I play a big WRPG – I always want to experience it in too many ways at once, which makes me abandon my characters and start new ones as soon as I reach a moderate amount of progress into the story. 

    The greatest offender is probably Fallout: New Vegas, in which I’ve logged countless hours into several different characters with radically different builds and backstories and behaviors before I even proceeded into the endgame for the first time.

  41. jessec829 says:

    I haven’t played Devil Survivor (I’ve resisted the lure of the handhelds so far), but I first experienced this phenomenon with SMT: Nocturne. I loved every minute of playing it but started slowing down as I got to an area I thought might be the endgame, until I eventually stopped before the finish. Months later I started over, and the same thing happened. I still haven’t finished that game. Apparently it’s an SMT thing. I was so sad when Persona 4 ended (I didn’t realize it was the end of the game until it happened!), and I’ve recently started parceling out the last bit of Persona 3. 

    Normally when I don’t finish a game it’s because I’ve gotten far enough in to appreciate the world building and the gameplay, and I don’t feel compelled to continue; with SMT games, I just don’t want to be done with them.Also, replaying Legend of Zelda 2: Adventures of Link after many years. In my head there was another boss after you fight your shadow, so to discover that was the end of the game was a bit of a letdown (not quite the same thing as not wanting to finish, I suppose, but whatever).

  42. David says:

    I’m doing this with Mass Effect 2 at this very moment, although mostly because the choice paradigms BioWare presents you with are equal parts frustrating and empowering and I was tired of dealing with them. The obvious path-diverges-and-you-choose-this-one-and-it-causes-this-WOO YEAH REALISM is tiresome as well. I guess I don’t dig BioWare in general. Every game, no matter how good, feels like a giant gimmick.

  43. Baramos x says:

    I think I logged over 300 hours on Final Fantasy Tactics on the PSX. I can’t say I didn’t beat it but I can say I didn’t want it to end.

    On the upside, one can just start it over and pursue classes one didn’t bother with the first time around!

  44. STOP_RIGHT_THERE_CRIMINAL_SCUM says:

    yeah that twist ending in Crackdown is hilarious due to how out of nowhere it is and how satirical it feels, I never played Crackdown 2 though so I have no idea if that ending was followed up on

    and by the way, Super Mario Sunshine is a REALLY underrated game, shit it may in fact be THE most underrated Mario game ever made 

  45. Patsy Badvideo says:

    For me the Dreamcast is the console I don’t want to end.  Everytime I go home to my parents I dust it off and re-start Shenmue 2 or Code Veronica or Jet Set Radio

  46. Patsy Badvideo says:

    The Dreamcast is the console I don’t want to end.  Every time I go home to my parents I take it out and re-start Shenmue 2 or Jet Set Radio, I still don’t own all the classics of the system so I imagine I’ll get a good few years out of it yet.  But also recently just playing Super Metroid and I genuinely hope it never ends, it’s so beautiful.

  47. Patsy Badvideo says:

    Weird it’s like I was here twice at the same time.  I must have been sober.

  48. Fun, interesting read fellas. Good job keeping things fresh.