24

Finite

May 16, 2022 by Tim

I’m sure we’re all familiar with the bittersweet heartache that comes with finishing a game we really enjoyed. Glad for the journey, but sad that the road has come to an end. My eight-year-old is really struggling with it right now.

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My boys play games like tablet games like Subway Surf, and Roblox on their tablets; they’re not my favorite, but its what their friends play, so c’est la vie. However I do try to encourage them to broaden their horizons and play more substantial, meatier games. I tend to offer then extra screentime if they’re using it to play a game with some story value, or robust mechanics.

Recently in an attempt to introduce him to some new games, I set my oldest up with Unravel, since it was on GamePass. He took to it pretty quickly, and then he and his younger brother spent a week or so trading sections back and forth and ultimately finishing the game. So I downloaded Unravel 2, which they could play together in co-op, and they spent another week or so completing that one. They figured out all of the platforming and puzzles on their own, and I’m proud of them for finishing it. But the eight-year-old is not taking it well.

The game and its character (Yarnie) seem to have really connected with him, and for the last couple of weeks he’s had bouts of intense sadness thinking about how the game is over and there is no Unravel 3 for him to play. He uses our phones to search for handcrafted Yarnies on Etsy (we’re going to make one for him), he plays the game soundtrack on Alexa… replaying the game helps to a minor degree, but as we all know, you can never quite recapture the magic of that first playthrough.

In the grand scheme of things, my wife and I know that there are countless amazing games for him to discover, and fall in love with in the same way, and that he’ll find this experience again and again as he plays more games. But for his eight-year-old brain, apparently this game just made an impression, and its hard for it to be over.

This has happened once before, when he was about five. Lego Star Wars 3 was on GamePass, and he and his brother put dozens of hours into it. I remember one point he game into my office on the verge of tears, and when I finally got him to tell me what was wrong, he explained that they only had one more level to bear, and then it would be over. And he didn’t want to play that level because it would mean he had no more.

It’s hard for us to see him this sad, yet at the same time, as someone who has more games than he has free time (and if I even finish one, I’m rushing onto the next thing I want to play), it’s a reminder how much of an impact games can have on us.

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ocramot
ocramot
6 months ago

Hey, I came here to laugh, not to feel!

Teocali
Teocali
6 months ago
Reply to  ocramot

Fuck, same here.

foducool
foducool
6 months ago

just start another game lol
and another
and another
and another

and another

Warmth
Warmth
6 months ago
Reply to  foducool

And before you know it the problems reverse itself as you now have a backlog and you aren’t really into playing half of them.

Dom
Dom
6 months ago
Reply to  foducool

And what do you do when you run out of games if that’s all you live for?
If anyone’s been there, and found a way out, let us know. 🙂

TomB
TomB
5 months ago
Reply to  Dom

I know it is terrifying, but try some encounters in The Real. Especially some time with dogs or cats and blue waters and green trees. Just being out (barring allergies or a harsh location) will help. If you have friends or kids, play a board game with your kids.

AJP
AJP
5 months ago
Reply to  TomB

But they all end too 🙁
Everything ends. No-one gets out of this game alive.

DahrAmahr
DahrAmahr
6 months ago

Yes, the golden sweet spot is when the game is very good but long enough that at the end you just WISH it was over. Then finishing it is a catharsis. 100% joy with 0 regrets and sense of loss.

Last edited 6 months ago by DahrAmahr
Wishie
Wishie
6 months ago

Show him the little big planet series 🙂

Xanthicirs
Xanthicirs
6 months ago
Reply to  Tim

Tim, what about Kingdom Hearts?

VibrantEvolution
VibrantEvolution
6 months ago
Reply to  Tim

Don’t play Secret of Mana. He’ll cry at the final boss, like I did 🙁

evilleet
evilleet
6 months ago

Lufia 2 i believe was the same … right in the feels!

DarkMetatron
DarkMetatron
6 months ago

That’s the reason I never finish any game 😀

Drew
Drew
6 months ago
Reply to  DarkMetatron

So, that’s the reason??

montaillou
montaillou
6 months ago

Maybe don’t introduce your kids to Mass Effect.

Bakhtosh
Bakhtosh
6 months ago
Reply to  montaillou

My second playthrough, I actually stopped at the big white light that beams you to the Crucible. Was a good place to end.

Michael
Michael
6 months ago
Reply to  Bakhtosh

I embraced the “Destroy” ending because I chose Tali over Legion and that was already more heart-breaking than the entire hack-writing state of the Crucible. I even had enough points for Shep to survive, so I decided the penthouse party takes place several months afterward.

Swiftbow
Swiftbow
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael

My head canon is that the Destroy ending is the ONLY way to stop the Reapers. But I do it with 100% galactic readiness and massive paragon points + Geth and Quarian reconciliation and Krogan species saved.

I figure… that’s mega happy ending there, so I’m sure (especially since Shepard survives Destroy with 100% readiness) that the Geth and EDI were only disabled by the pulse and can be repaired after.

Probably the Reapers were only disabled, too… so one would hope the Alliance forces kept shooting them afterwards.

Kaogen
Kaogen
6 months ago
Reply to  Swiftbow

I wont dispute anyone’s head canon, because at the end of the day what we actually got was pretty lame regardless, but I never found that any ending was really perfect looking ages down the line. Destroy would be the most immediate, but the whole Geth situation indicates it’d probably happen again to some degree, so it’s imperfect. Control is the most reliable, but that depends entirely upon Shepard’s upload retaining the same values as the galaxy does, which isn’t guaranteed. Synthesis is the canon best ending (according to starchild) but it would probably fall apart the moment we got… Read more »

Swiftbow
Swiftbow
6 months ago
Reply to  Kaogen

Well, I would argue that, as far the ending of Mass Effect goes, head canon is the only real canon, because they basically set it up so that the player can interpret it themselves. Which I liked, actually. (Because really… the main parts of the ending are based on the other stuff you did in the games. The final choice mostly changes the colors and whether Shepard survives.) And personally, I think Synthesis is the Reapers winning, because Shepard has been successfully indoctrinated into thinking that’s the right decision. I mean, look at it… organics and tech merged ARE the… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Swiftbow
Kaogen
Kaogen
6 months ago
Reply to  Swiftbow

I mean, no, Reapers are Reapers. The entire character arc of unshacked EDI is about the difference between what you’re made of and what you actually are, which is incredibly important in this situation. Not to mention you’ve seen multiple examples of what a real reaper version of each race is. Both control and destroy were ‘galaxy wins’ endings, but with two different levels of sacrifice. Destroy sacrificed all artificial life (taking out EDI, the Geth, The Reapers and any electronic implants people have since the energy seems to have zero distinction. Whereas Control came at the cost of only… Read more »

Swiftbow
Swiftbow
6 months ago
Reply to  Kaogen

Until Bioware makes another game set in the same scenario, it doesn’t really matter what they say. If it’s not in the final game/story/movie/whatever, it’s not canon. And yeah, I haven’t read it recently to verify, but I think I subscribe to the Indoctrination Theory. I would consider it kind of genius, actually… the player obviously won’t pick that on purpose. But if you work it into the gameplay, then a player might choose it anyway, because THEY’VE been indoctrinated. Like, the first time I finished the ending, I picked Synthesis, because it sounded like the best. Before the credits… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Swiftbow
WereCatf
WereCatf
6 months ago

Oh, I definitely know the feeling. I’ve never been much into those games that don’t have a clearly defined story with a start and an end and thus I’ve felt this despair SO many times over the decades!

….and yet, I’m a god damn glutton for punishment and always end up picking up yet another one sooner or later, knowing full well I’ll be left hurting by the end of it all over again. God damn, you moron me.

Bhaal42
Bhaal42
6 months ago

I remember this feel when I finished Mass Effect 3 and thought on how long was my journey with the Commander Shepard.
It was at this moment I most needed a memory wiping tool to be able to replay the game as a “virgin”

Little_Dragon
Little_Dragon
6 months ago

This is why I favour games with a ton of fan-mission support.

The Thief game franchise has been around for over twenty years now, and has a very active community still crafting new adventures for Garrett to skulk about in.

Gonfrask
Gonfrask
6 months ago

I think that the first time I feel that emptiness was playing Dragon Age 1, maybe for the necessity of doing things with your partners, give them gifts, knowing their backgrounds…
Yes, when I finished it I though “now…what?”

Opesinorbit
Opesinorbit
6 months ago

The last game that had that effect on me was Red Dead Redemption 2

Brian Jones
Brian Jones
6 months ago

i experience this with games, movies and TV. I wish I could forget that I watched the Gentleman (Guy Ritchie movie) and than I could experience it again for the first time. Witcher 3 for gaming for same reason.

TheZomby
TheZomby
6 months ago
Reply to  Brian Jones

I had the chance to be able the experience some movies and TV series for the first time a second time. I grew up watching movies and TV series translated as English is not my native language, so I enjoyed the movies and series for their stories, but later rewatching them in their original language, I could actually enjoy the actor’s play, which rarely survive the translation process. So even though I don’t remember when I first saw movies like Ghostbusters, Back to the Future or the original Star Wars trilogy, I was able to rediscover them by watching them… Read more »

Lincolen
Lincolen
6 months ago

It’s an opportunity to introduce him to the world to indie game development and let him create the sequals he would like play

Pulse
Pulse
6 months ago
Reply to  Lincolen

and the world of C&D and infringement claims

Paul
Paul
6 months ago

Oh yeah. All the feels. I had this with the first Knights of the Old Republic. That was the first game I played where I felt like I really genuinely cared about the characters and the story. And when it was over I was like…damn. What next? My son is the same, though. He consumes the far less linear Roblox type of game, or Minecraft. I wonder if children his age (8) have the concentration to follow a full story-based game, though. Perhaps there’s a newer generation influenced by the likes of TikTok that will have shorter attention spans and… Read more »

Dehnus
Dehnus
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul

Not everybody likes “story based games” though. And that’s fine. Granted mobile games are close to gambling. But arcade games are quite rare these days mostly due to how it’s either one extreme (gambling mobile games) or the other “40 hour third person action dadventures/sadventures”.

Gimme Crazy Taxi any day! :).

Hermandw
Hermandw
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul

A game that has the right appeal for him, will draw him in, despite the tendency for short attention span, and may actually improve attention span.
That was my experience with my kids, and now my grandkids.

Paul
Paul
6 months ago
Reply to  Hermandw

Interestingly, my son can spend hours in the ‘simulator’ sort of games, driving around a bus or a train. So perhaps it’s more about creating self-narrative than having one laid out for him.

R3dMage
R3dMage
6 months ago

I have this problem with books and movies as well…. 🙁

J J
J J
6 months ago

*nods*

Days Gone. I feel his pain.

Eldest Gruff
Eldest Gruff
6 months ago

Tablet games taught me that the thing which makes traditional games so great, is that they DO end. Fully crafted experiences have a full arc, in not just story, but gameplay.

Anything else is a long, long slow decline of lesser story, lesser rewards, and lesser returns, or just a hodgepodge of user-generated content.

Kaogen
Kaogen
6 months ago
Reply to  Eldest Gruff

Plus you can usually feel when something was part of what they originally had in mind versus what was tacked on/added on down the line just for more content.

It’s what bugged me so much during that period (Which I guess we aren’t even out of yet) when every game HAD to have some sort of multiplayer/Pvp and Singleplayer or whatever.

So many would release with one part blatantly half-assed, and you KNEW that came at the cost of a chunk of the better part of the game you actually came there for.

Dehnus
Dehnus
6 months ago

Also: Not everybody is into story based game-play or the usual “Third Person Action Sadventures/Dadventures”.

Some of us love Arcade games (far and few these days 🙁 ). Or are we now saying Arcade games don’t have substance! – Get’s out his dueling glove and pistols, as he narrows his eyes in a death stare -.

no thanks nintendo
no thanks nintendo
6 months ago
Reply to  Dehnus

I tend to offer then extra screentime if they’re using it to play a game with some story value, or robust mechanics.”

Emphasis on the “OR”

Kaogen
Kaogen
6 months ago
Reply to  Dehnus

I mean, its not wrong to say that many arcade games weren’t entirely designed with the game part in mind. There’s no question that a fair number were intended to eat as many coins as they could while still being appealing enough to keep people coming back.
A far less shitty version of most mobile games, tbh.

And the end of the day, though, fun is fun, and if you’re having fun with a video game then you do you.

Last edited 6 months ago by Kaogen
Cake
Cake
6 months ago

awww, this is so sweet and a little sad : (

Kaitensatsuma
Kaitensatsuma
6 months ago

Oh yeah, I’ve lost track of the amount of books and games that I’ve got like 1~ hour left and just stopped playing so theoretically it’s never over

kazooki117
kazooki117
6 months ago

We had a period of a week with my 7-year-old where he went to bed pretty distraught every night because he just couldn’t get a Rathalos Mantle (poor him, I got five in our first three attempts).

These are important life-lesson coping skills to develop, so I don’t feel too bad (though I’m glad they added the ability to just craft what you need from other items if you get far enough into the game).

Kasaix
Kasaix
6 months ago

That’s me in Assassin’s Creed II and Brotherhood. I’ll spend a few extra minutes just running around the place, sad that I’m leaving “home”. Firenze and Rome are “home” for me whenever I boot those games up.

FITCamaro
FITCamaro
6 months ago

I guess further proof that I’m a heartless bastard. I finish a game and, even for the amazing ones, as long as the ending is satisfying, I’m like “Success!”. Last of Us 2 I was extremely glad to finish. The backlog is so big, there’s another new adventure to move on to. Maybe it’s because the Unravel series is kind of a “feels” kind of story.

Jess C
Jess C
6 months ago

Could also be that it’s the playing with his brother that has a role in his sadness at the game ending.

Chris
Chris
6 months ago

I have definitely done something similar to this I just avoided finishing the game completely

TheZomby
TheZomby
6 months ago

I played A link to the past when it originaly came out (in French, the first game I remember being translated in French for the SNES, and the only one I can remember, and my father went back to the Toys’R’us to trade the english version for the French version).
And I only finaly beat Ganon about 4 years ago, when I played a “A Link to the past + Super Metroid” randomized game.

Dynamicprog
Dynamicprog
6 months ago

The first game I ever finished was halo: reach. I was about 12 and man did the story hit hard. None of the other gpa games, including other halo games could really compare to it. It was a feeling like no other.

stubbs
stubbs
6 months ago

Its a good way for kids to develop some tools for dealing with loss and grief. The more practice they have with emotional turmoil when the stakes are low the better they will deal with these powerful feelings later.

Leon
Leon
6 months ago

They’re not sweet memories unless they end….

Flintlocke
Flintlocke
6 months ago

Last game that gave me this feeling was Outer Wilds, and many years ago the first was Chrono Trigger. Both games i consider absolute masterpieces.

Leon
Leon
6 months ago
Reply to  Flintlocke

I get that feel from multi-disc games, like Dot Hack GU, or LoH: Trails of Cold Steel

Magnus Johnsson
Magnus Johnsson
6 months ago

So what you are saying is…

… the best emotional way for him is to become a speedrunner? 😉

(Nah, learning to deal with loss even for small things is important. I am still incredibly bummed about not feeling much replayability with Outer Wilds.. but coping)

Fortomega
Fortomega
6 months ago

This comic reminds me of how much I love outerwilds and how sad I am that I can never truly experience it again. I wish I could wipe my memory clean of that game (or they could release more dlc).

Kenju
Kenju
6 months ago

THIS, I remember the first time I beat Legend of the Dragoon I just, sat there for a moment confused, trying to process that this four disc long game that I had played over the course of an entire summer break was…over…that the story had ended.

For some reason that just, really stuck with me, same with Knights of the Old Republic some years later.

But, yeah, prior to LotD I had never played a game with an actual story or plot before, so it really did have an impact on me.

VibrantEvolution
VibrantEvolution
6 months ago
Reply to  Kenju

I still hear Albert say “Gust of Wind Dance”
Always struggled with how annoying it sounds…
And never ever taking the white dragoon cuz really… one shot with that bow? Why didn’t they get a combo…

Kenju
Kenju
6 months ago

White Dragoon was weak in a way but also not. Her attacks always did the same damage, ignoring armor and block so there were a few boss fights she was very useful. Also her healing was stupid OP with the right gear.

But yeah I still think about that game all the time, loved it to death, trying to max out all the attack additions drove me nuts, especially the Lightning Dragoon since the timing was so fickle lol

Tim Tucker
Tim Tucker
6 months ago

If he really likes the yarn aesthetic, what about Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Yoshi’s Woolly World, or Yoshi’s Crafted World?

Toke
Toke
6 months ago
Reply to  Tim Tucker

My 3 year old completed Yoshis crafted world (on easy mode, and I had to help with the dark levels) – it might be a bit on the easy/bland side.

Billiam
Billiam
6 months ago

That’s how I felt with CAD 1.0

BrillyTZ
BrillyTZ
6 months ago

That is why i play hunt. THERE IS NO END

Drew
Drew
6 months ago

TV shows and movies can do that, too. I still lament the loss of Firefly.

juckto
juckto
6 months ago

:guy scratching neck meme:
y’al got any more of them story arcs?

Hans Jákup Danielsen
Hans Jákup Danielsen
6 months ago

then there is junk food on console…
looking at you roblox 😠

Lily
Lily
6 months ago

I always think about this sort of stuff, when people say it would suck if we are all immortal and nothing bad ever happened, because we wouldn’t really be ‘living’ life and experiencing things fully. If we were all immortal and had happy perfect lives, we could just play video games and still feel all the emotions of the world, without actual bad things happening to anyone though.

Bakhtosh
Bakhtosh
6 months ago

My first pseudo experience with this would have been Starflight 2. It wasn’t character rich, so the feelings weren’t quite as intense. That would be reserved for Final Fantasy III (SNES). The opera song still gets me.

Alcor
Alcor
6 months ago

Show him how to write fanfic so he can live in the universe forever

Casra
Casra
6 months ago

Part of why I love FF14, so far… it’s boundless.

josh
josh
6 months ago

Me when I first finished FF7 as a kid…. start the daydreaming of everything after the game.

Freelance
Freelance
6 months ago

Hey, hey, hey…. Don’t cry that it’s over; smile that it happened.

ThatMageGuy
ThatMageGuy
6 months ago

I’ve had that feeling with so many games, but I’m pretty sure The Last of Us is my strongest memory of it right now.

MRD
MRD
6 months ago

There’s always NG+1.

conser
conser
6 months ago

Get him started on the Final Fantasy series(1-15) and you won’t need to worry for at least a few years.

That or start him on Skyrim and check back in a decade.

Vtr
Vtr
6 months ago

That sadness following finishing a very good game can be educational. Children today are some what pampered (not speaking any one specifically) and get so much attention and adults try to guard them away from negative experiences. Life is full of positive, and negative feelings, and what could be a better way to learn those than a good game which you can discuss of with your parents and friends/siblings after completing it…

Avion
Avion
6 months ago

This is the actual reason for I have never finished FF7 Dirge of Cerberus. Yeah, it wasn’t a great game, yet I was quite enjoying playing in Vincent’s pointy shoes. But at a certain point I realized that beating the game would mean closing once and forever all the FF7 story. I just couldn’t.

Last edited 6 months ago by Avion