“For the path you take will LEAD to certain DESTRUCTION”

Am I the only one who experiences brain-lock when approaching the final stage or dungeon or whatever in a video game? I’m ready to head into the last level of the game I’m reviewing, but I can’t bring myself to tackle it. I even made a false start a little while ago, a foray just far to realize yeah better not. I don’t know why this always happens, but if I let myself pause before a game’s finale I have a hard time overcoming the weird psychological block that says, “Naw dude, better not.” I spent about a week dickering around in Final Fantasy VII before delving into the Northern Crater, for instance. And I forced myself to complete MGS3 in one sitting last Sunday because I knew if I quit before completing the final boss gauntlet I’d never convince myself to go after the Boss.

It’s stupid, of course; usually when I put the wraps on a game my first thought is, “Oh, was that it?” Ah, my stupid brain.

Edit: Oh, was that it? Sigh.

37 thoughts on ““For the path you take will LEAD to certain DESTRUCTION”

  1. Nope, you certainly aren’t. My thing is a certain anxiety over finishing the game and ending the world, since I rarely ever play back through games after finishing them.

  2. Funny you mention FF7. When I first played it, I got to the Northern Crater and did the same thing, put the game down. I was… I dunno, hesistant, afraid to finish? Later – months later – I beat Final Fantasy Tactics. I thought “Oh, beating games isn’t so bad after all,” and went back and beat FF7 that same day.

    Maybe more games should take the Xenosaga ep I approach – spring the last battle on you completely out of nowhere. I was playing the game and got to the end of just some dungeon – and the boss, just a regular old normal dungeon boss, had a long speech from both sides beforehand, and special music and a trippy rainbow background. And then the game was over. Huh?

  3. I dread final stages, partly because boss fights are frustrating, partly because I want to put off that feeling of post-game emptiness, partly because game endings are usually either nonsense or lame setups for a sequel (which probably contributes to the post-game emptiness).

    I spread the last dungeon of Phantom Hourglass over four or five Muni rides last week just to drag things out. Sleep mode makes bosscrastination easy!

  4. That’s funny, ’cause when I finished ff7, I didn’t realize the northern crater was the final dungeon. I thought it was just the first event on a disc 3 which would be as long as discs 1 and 2. I got to the second phase of the Sephiroth fight before I realized what was happening.

  5. I usually get a feeling of anxiety as I approach the end of a game. This feeling of “what if I can’t beat it.” Then I trudge through the final stages only to see my fears were [usually] unfounded.

  6. Did your father leave you when you were a lad? The finale probably wouldn’t help a tyke with abandonment issues.

    Sephiroth does me a good father figure; that is, if you’re a small kid in Uganda. But, then again, in Uganda, you’re likely to get adopted by Angelina Jolie. So, I guess my horrible attempt at humor failed.

    I’m exactly the same way. In fact, I haven’t bothered completing Final Fantasy XII, Blue Dragon, or Dragon Quest VIII because I don’t feel I’ve “seen” enough of the over world to satisfy my slight curiosity for the resolution. I’m probably deranged.

  7. I beat FFVI for the first time this year, although I’ve played it three times before and twice come right up to the point of finishing-but-never-quite-finishing. I thought too that it had something to do with not wanting to leave the game world (and inexplicably staying in it forever by not ever playing the game again, which makes no sense at all), but I think it also has to do with reaching a certain point where the urgency to complete just evaporates. I mean, you’re right at the end, aren’t you, so why not take your time? And then three months later…

  8. I know for me it has a lot to do with wanting to leave all the sidequests open. These days, though, a lot of the sidequests are annoying busywork, so I just don’t bother.

  9. Quite honestly the last games I truly felt like playing till finishing them were Might and Magic VIII because Escaton was such a cool bad guy I just had to know what was going to happen and also Wizardry 8 because the Dark Savant is just the best bad guy ever. Great stories that one just wants to know what’s going to happen.

    Now, everything seems to generic in videogames. Nothing really makes me want to play. I guess the novelty in video games is gone. Either something new and innovative comes along the way or the entire industry can just go to hell for all I care.

  10. Personally, I like finishing games, because that means I get to move on to something new. And no matter how good my current game may be, there’s nothing quite like throwing myself into a whole new experience. I do try to clean up all the sidequests I care about before heading to the end, though, because I know I probably won’t come back for them.

  11. I hate that post-game emptiness as well – around my house we call it ff syndrome or zelda syndrome. My wife was intent to beat Omega 13 and Yiazmat in FF12 before beating Vayne. Since then she’s decided that beating those 2 optional bosses is too time consuming, but yet doesn’t want to venture forth and fight Vayne…. weird

  12. I think the natural solution for things like this is to play Nippon Ichi games. Those sumbitches NEVER end.

  13. I was trying so hard to figure out what game that picture was from and then it hit me. And I felt horrible.

  14. Yeah, games that end are horrible because a part of your life ends with them. Better to stick to F-Zero and Centipede. :)

  15. It took me 11 years to pluck up the courage to face Kefka.

    I got to the final boss of FFVIII, knocked on her door, and then decided not to enter. Never played it again.

    My second encounter with Ridley scared me off for two weeks in Super Metroid.

    What is wrong with us???

  16. My lil’ sister has a whole slew of games that she’s gotten to the near-end of and never bothered finishing until a year or so later. Such gems include Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI and VII, Evermore, Ocarina, Twilight Princess, MGS2…

    I thought it was a girl thing.

  17. I also suffer from the problem of wanting to wrap up inane obsessive side-quests before finishing the game. Cursed the missing gems in Phantom Hourglass. I want to know what the last two fairy power-ups do, even though I’m sure I’ll have no use for them whatsoever. Argh.

    Also, mmm, Henson. I finally got the box set of Labyrinth / Dark Crystal / Mirrormask, even though I already had one of the individual DVDs.

  18. My problem with finishing a game was always my obsessive-compulsive need to be COMPLETELY prepared for the final area. In RPGs I would dick around for two days or so leveling up and amassing huge stocks of items just to be sure.
    If you’ve ever been packing for a long trip and you end up pacing around your apartment/house trying to think of everything you’ll need, worrying you’ll forget something, it’s pretty analogous to what end game areas make me feel.

  19. Now, see, I have the opposite problem. I usually get to the final dungeon sometime around 12~2 AM, and decide “Oh, I’ll just step in for a little bit, see what’s in store just so I know whether I need a weapon/grinding/sidequests or something, then turn off the game and then REALLY tackle it tomorrow.”

    Two hours later, I’m watching the credits.

    (Happened last night, too. Just bought Dracula X in the late evening, popped it in at 1 AM to check that it was all working properly, nothing more. By the time I went to bed it was 2:30 AM and I had already freed two of the girls.)

  20. You’re not alone, I still haven’t beaten FF12. I tell myself that I’m waiting to get everyone to 99 and hunt down all the marks, but maybe I just don’t want it to end?

  21. You know, MMORPG games never end. Thre’s no fianl boss, quests keep being created and the world is forever growing and expanding. I hear Tabula Rasa is going to be pretty awesome. I recommend all of you to give in and go the MMORPG route.

  22. Part of my hesitation in finishing games is all of the games with mulitple endings. I *rarely* finish a game more than once anymore and I am worried I’m going to see some sort of ending put there for the slackers and not the “real” ending.

    Although, I have accepted using youtube to watch any amazing revelations in special endings that I don’t feel like earning, I still worry as I get closer to the end that I’m going to see the loser’s version.

  23. I got stalled at FF12’s ending – I played a mighty assload of it over last Christmas Break, but when I got back to school our guild activity in WoW picked back up and I got sucked into that. Then I lent it to a friend and haven’t had the chance to finally beat it. But FF12 was another where I wanted to do as many of the sidequests and stuff as possible – so many marks to hunt!

  24. My best friend does this, too.

    Me? I don’t get you people. I think I still cling to the hope that a game’s ending will impress me for some reason, so I always rush to see that.

  25. I bought Metroid Prime almost when it came out, but didn’t play through the final level until this year, waiting for 3.

  26. godot: I’ve never actually read “Waiting for Godot”, but for some reason I find it amusing that someone named “godot” would champion the endlessness of MMORPGs. Was that intentional? Did I ruin the joke by being obtuse and pointing out the obvious? I’m not good at this Internet humor stuff.

    Also, that empty comment was me being an idiot and trying to press the scroll wheel while the pointer was over the “Post comment” button, and missing it (hitting the left mouse button instead). Sorry about that.

  27. I actually wanted to put “Waiting for Gobot” as my nickname, so any joke related to endlessness is purely coincidental. Nice idea though. I actually think the MMORPG experience has great potential, and if great designers like Richard Garriott (who has been a great innovator) get into it, I guess its where true innovation will come to the video game industry.

  28. See, this is largely why I don’t play MMOs–in a game with no ending, I either have to give up eventually or simply play forever. And neither of those are things I like to do.

  29. Me too.

    I’d add more, but whatever. I’ve was stuck right before the end of DQVII for years until I finally said to myself “Fuck it. You’re never going to see every immigrant town form or get everything from the casino. Go finish the game.” And I did. It still doesn’t account for the fact that I’ve been right before the end boss of Phantasy Star II for about two years (don’t want to grind enough to be powerful enough to defeat him) and just have to do an end game scenario in Lost in Blue (that I think is more that I feel I’ll ruin the experience by ending the game.)

  30. Wow, I honestly thought I was the only one this has happened to. I’ll seriously get right to that last dungeon/area, and pussy out. I did that with the vast majority of Final Fantasies, and a lot of other franchises I can’t think of.

  31. I too suffer from unfinished game syndrome. Except I’ve run through every reason that someone might have for stopping right before the final dungeon/boss and I can’t figure out what my own personal reasoning is. It’s nice to see I’m not alone in my psychosis though!

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