Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Linkin Park has it all wrong

I'm a huge Linkin Park fan. I have all their CDs, blast their songs when I hear them on the radio and sing loudly along with them while I'm driving. One of my favorite songs is "In the End", but I have to tell you they've got it all wrong . . . as far as gaming is concerned.

If you don't know the lyrics to the chorus here they are:

"I tried so hard
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn't even matter
I had to fall
To lose it all
But in the end
It doesn't even matter"

How do I know they've got it all wrong? Because in "The End" it DOES matter.

Just ask my brother kai. He recently just finished playing the story in Call of Duty 4 and he was over the moon at having finished his first video game. I know how he feels. I've finished a few games in my life too. And I have four more I should be finishing sometime (along with my brother dain --hint hint--).

There's something magical about getting to see "The End" pop up on the screen after long hours of game play. After saving Little Sisters . . . or harvesting them. After finding out your father is Sin and defeating him . . . and then realize who/what you are? And finding out long lost friends, who became enemies, become friends again in death and their Dragoon orbs await another hero. It's a sense of accomplishment. An achievement without a musical note and a score of points . . . unless you finish Portal than you have your very own musical score to listen to.

Finishing a game means your hard work paid off. Hours spent agonizing over how to finish a level and move on to the next one are answered with a "Ta-da" instead of "our Princess is in another Castle". It's a show of mental powers as well as physical endurance. You can prove that you can go days, weeks or even months between gaming sessions in a single game and yet still follow the story line to get done what needs to be done. You've endured the button mashing and you might even have the bruises or calluses to prove it. It's wonderful.

But once you finish a game that has more than one difficulty setting every gamer is faced with the same question. Do I go back and replay the game on a harder difficulty? I know some gamers that go for the hardest difficulty the first time around. In a lot of games that unlocks all the achievements on the lower difficulty settings at the same time. Even then, in a lot of games the "insane" setting doesn't unlock until you've beaten the game once before. So in order to get those achievements you would have to play the game twice. But we're not talking about finishing achievements here. We're talking about the game itself.

As much as getting "The End" message on your screen after a long gaming session, it's even worse getting the "Game Over" message. You don't have "to fall" to get to "The End" . . . at least not in any of the games I've finished. And with save files it really doesn't matter if you do. Do you remember when "Game Over" literally meant your game was over? There were no restarts from the last checkpoint or loading last save file. When your character died he was . . . well, dead. But as much as "Game Over" is devastating "The End" is just as rewarding.

So Linkin Park might not have got it right when it comes to gaming, but I'm still going to be belting out their tunes on my drive home even though I hear the shower has better acoustics. And once I get home I'll be working on that elusive "The End" and the rush of euphoria that comes with it.

3 comments:

Hester said...

I also love that song - rock on sister!

metallicorphan said...

i really have to finish Final Fantasy 10

pengwenn said...

I hope I didn't spoil it for you orphie. :(