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Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Mass Effect 3 was easily one of the most anticipated games of 2012. People played it, loved it but when they finished it, well, something was seriously amiss. Saying players were disappointed with the game would be like saying the atomic bomb being dropped caused a slight commotion. Gamers were infuriated by the ending to Mass Effect 3. We're talking unstoppable Hulk rage here. Now I've never played any of the Mass Effect games, nor have I seen the ending to the third game so I cannot comment on the ending itself. But when an ending to a video game generates a backlash on this grand a scale, it speaks volumes.

I've heard of bad video game endings before. Heck, I've played games and seen them with my own eyes. But this is the first time I've heard of a ending being so "bad" that its been campaigned to be written over in favor of a better one. I'll side with my fellow gamers on a lot of things. Being able to buy used titles. Rallying against on-disc downloadable content. I'm with them 100% on things like that. Getting so upset to the ending to Mass Effect 3 that you expect the developers to give you a better one? Sorry. This is gonna be one of those times where I can't take your side.  No matter how stupid or nonsensical the ending was, the developers shouldn't go back and change it just because the fans got all huffy about it.

Look, Mass Effect 3 players, I get that you're peeved over the game's finale. Even without seeing it or having played any of the Mass Effect games, I understand where you're coming from. You've got every right to be irked. That's a God-given right. Do you think that demanding that the ending be altered will make it happen? Crappy endings are sadly, a part of entertainment both for movies and video games. The response to Mass Effect 3's ending got me thinking about a few particular endings I've seen.

Take my word for it. Breath
of Fire's bad ending really
is bad.

Back in the late 1990s, I invested a ton of hours into the original Breath of Fire on the SNES. When I saw the ending to that game, which basically, "We have to rebuild the towns!" I was not a happy camper. I slaved away on that game for hours, weeks for a conclusion that was hardly worth it. I would later find out that this was the game's bad ending and it certainly lived up to be labeled as such. Bomberman's ending on the NES was also a turd . When I saw that single text screen ending, I wanted to chuck that game out the window.

Mega Man 3's ending is the stuff that
good endings are made of.

On the flip side, an example of a good ending to a game comes from Mega Man 3 on the NES. Throughout the game, Mega Man has had numerous run-ins with Break Man. Most of the time when Break Man shows up, it's to fight, but when he appears in Gemini Man's stage, he opens up a path for you that was previously blocked off without firing a single shot at you. It raised the question, just who's side is this guy on? I received my answer when I finished the game. Upon defeating Dr. Wily, his fortress starts to crumble and some of the debris falls on Mega Man, knocking him out and leaving him in bad shape. A shadowy figure appears and takes Mega Man to safety. When Mega Man awakens, he's in Dr. Light's lab, good as new. Just who brought Mega Man there anyway? Mega Man and Dr. Light hear a whistle, which reveals the name of Mega Man's mysterious rescuer: Break Man, AKA Proto Man. As Mega Man goes for a walk, we see a list of robots made by Dr. Light up to this point in the series, including Mega Man. But it turns out that while Mega Man is listed as #001, he wasn't the first robot the good doctor made. Dr. Light's first creation is #000, Proto Man, Mega Man's brother. That blew my nine year old mind and is not only one of my favorite moments in the Mega Man series, but one of my top favorite video game endings. It gave us closure on a character we were unsure about as well as linking him to both Mega Man and Dr. Light. Even by today's standards, that's an incredible ending.

So while I still say the ending to Mass Effect 3 should remain unchanged in spite of raging gamer's pleas, developers should take this as a sign of how not to conclude a game. It's just gonna tick gamers off and in this business, gamers already have enough to be bent out of shape about.

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