If you and I made great games, we would probably make them last too long. So many of the best games do. And they end dubiously, with less than their best stuff and too much of the same old thing.
See "BioShock," a game whose many fans don't seem to be very fond of its tone-shifted super-villain-style final boss battle.
See "Grand Theft Auto IV," which ends well after Niko Bellic achieves closure with the agony that trailed him to America. But it goes on, toward the usual bombastic end.
See "Metal Gear Solid IV." People who have played it surely know why.
Even less-than-great games tend to last longer than I, a serial game-completist, so often feel they need to. And they end so awkwardly. For example: I didn't need that last boss battle in "Geist," the one that introduced an entirely new gameplay mechanic and control scheme just for the final fight. If only such end-game stumbles were rare.
This weekend, as I finished the superb downloadable PS3 horror adventure "Siren: Blood Curse," I again played a game that didn't seem to know when to quit or how.
"Siren"'s infraction was minor but disappointingly typical. I'd have shaved a few minutes from the end, mainly the final cut-scene and the final boss-battle right before it. It ends, without spoiling things too much, in the manner of "BioShock" and "Geist": abandoning its own style to conclude in the noisy super-sized boss-battle flourish that concludes most games. It's no longer distinguishably "Siren" at the end. It might as well be a "Metroid," a "Zelda," a "Devil May Cry," you name it.
Why must so many disparate games end the same crass way? Why does the confidence of so many game creators to build something distinct appear to abandon them as they craft their game's final moments?
I believe many developers have little sense of how to end games because so few gamers reach enough endings to express a critical consensus. Creators know how to make a crowd-pleasing opening because they expect a crowd to experience it and have listened for the reaction. But how do you make a great ending? Where's the feedback?
Here's the feedback: I would have liked "Siren" to have crept out of my life the wonderful way it crept in, eerie and haunting. It didn't. It went out like something else, something not "Siren."
Next: I'm playing through an Xbox Original: "Stubbs The Zombie." I hear it's short and funny. Checking…