How great endings stay with us

I recently watched the season finale of The Flash.  I found the show to be incredibly fun and you should definitely check it out.  After watching the finale, of which I was very satisfied, I started thinking about all those video games I played back in day and how they ended.  For me, nothing ruins a video game more than a terrible ending (as I have mentioned before).  You spend hours upon hours investing yourself into the characters, into the story, into the game’s world just to see it all come crashing down in a giant pile of steaming cow dung.

My copies of FF6 and Skies of Arcadia.  And, yes, I still have my Super Nintendo and Sega Dreamcast.
My copies of FF6 and Skies of Arcadia. And, yes, I still have my Super Nintendo and Sega Dreamcast.

However, not all games are like that.  Though I have played a few with terrible endings (like Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver), some of my favorite video games of all time did their endings right.  Specifically I’m going to talk about Final Fantasy 6 on the Super Nintendo (known as FF3 in the States) and Skies of Arcadia on the Sega Dreamcast.  These two video games remain in my Top 5 favorite video games of all time, mostly due to their incredible stories and game play, but also because their endings were fantastic.

I spent a great deal of my time in High School playing Final Fantasy 6.  I easily put in over 40 hours in the World of Balance, not knowing that it was just the first half of the game.  I didn’t care, the game was the best game I had ever played up to that point (it’s still my #1 favorite game of all time).  Then, everything got flipped on its head when Kefka decided to literally ruin the world (second half of the game is in the World of Ruin).  Again I didn’t care, I got to play even more of this incredible game.  I spent so much time playing that I even started generating a list, by hand, of everything you could win at the coliseum.  I made sure I got all of the characters, got all the best items, and spent quite a bit of time trying to level every character up to level 99 (even with two Experience Eggs, this just took too long).

So, with just my main party mostly at maximum level (Celes, Terra, Cyan, and Sabin), I decided it was time to defeat Kefka.  I remember defeating the first of the three boss Kefka encounter when Cyan died (stupid level 4 death spells).  However, that was the only death my party suffered.  When I got to actually fight Kefka, I remember he didn’t even get a chance to attack (thanks to Sabin’s eight attacks with the Genji Glove and the Offering).  After beating Kefka I was greeted with the most epic ending I had ever seen.  Keep in mind this was on the Super Nintendo, so you will understand just how epic it was.  The ending was over 22 minutes long and covered every single character in the game.  To me, this is the yardstick of endings in which all other endings should be measured against.  It gave you complete closure for everyone.  It was so memorable that I still remember it over 16 years later.

This brings me to another game with a truly awesome ending.  The short lived Sega Dreamcast gave us my #5 favorite video game of all time, Skies of Arcadia.  This game was truly unique; from the world you were in to the combat style, everything was just incredible.  Its playstyle was very unique in that you, essentially, had turn orders for your abilities.  It was the first RPG I had played that was like this.  Also, you could do combat in your flying pirate ship.  Yes, you read that right.  A.FLYING.PIRATE.SHIP!  I cannot describe well enough how ridiculously awesome this game was, you should definitely check it out.

Well, towards the end of the game I started getting worried that the ending would suck (Soul Reaver had previously ruined my game ending experience).  I tried to talk to my friend, who had previously beaten the game, about it, but he wouldn’t say anything.  He wouldn’t even tell me if the crazy difficult fight I was in was the final fight (I had saved ship upgrades because I thought there might be more).  This friend, by not spoiling anything, did me a huge favor.  He allowed the game to resurrect my excitement for game endings again.  Like with FF6, Skies of Arcadia has an ending that will leave you nothing but satisfied.  The awesome ending is why it will forever remain in my Top 5.

So, tell me what you think?  Do great endings of video games make them all the better?  Which are your favorites?  Please leave a comment below and/or share on Twitter.

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