Post-Game Content Hurts So Bad

…unless you're a kid and you have noting better to do all day.

I used to 100% everything back then, but now getting saddled with post-game content makes me sad. At least, finally beating the game and being completely satisfied with your ending only to find out that there are now 100 McGuffins to collect and that the room you had completely cleared out is now 33% done (this actually happened.)

I don't know.

I just feel betrayed.

I don't remember why or when, but several years ago I got into the habit of trying to 100% the game on the first playthrough, before actually beating it. I say I don't remember why, but I can guess that it's because I wanted to get this out of the way while I still had a fleeting interest in the game, and not have any of it pile up into an huge and intimidating mess the likes of which I would never have enough free time (or enthusiasm, having beaten the game) to wrap up. Funny thing is, trying to get as much as I can into the playthrough actually helped me better appreciate the depth of a good gameworld, and it's one of the things that made playing The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time so fun. There's just so much we gloss over, you know?

And challenging players to do this kind of thing serves two very good purposes: 1) It encourages challenge-loving players (certainly not the only kind out there!) to do their best without beating them over the head with challenges so rote and artificial, and not to mention divorced from the more interesting game proper, that it's difficult to keep interest for very long feeling like you will just never finish this quest, and the really interesting part of the game is over anyway, so why should I even care?

Post-Game Content Hurts So Bad

It's 100% clear, but none of these stars are shining. The player must've run into a Gold Super Leaf at some point. Oh well. Guess you'll have to start the whole file over.

*Insert the sound of a power button turning off the game forever.*

And also, much more importantly, 2) It gives the player a sense of closure. Few things feel worse than finally beating the game, but then not being able to put it down and move on to something else because you need to collect 20 Golden Marshmallows and THAT'S NOT THE REAL ENDING LOL.

You know as well as I do that developers put these into their games so that they'll last longer. But I don't necessarily want my games to last longer just because. I just want them to be better (And maybe even (HELLO!) manageable enough to fit into a schedule.) If making the game its best relies on it being a long-form, continuous experience (like Skyrim or sandbox games I guess,) then I'm all for it. But when the game's main plotline takes up about a total of 20% percent of the main game while the remaining 80% is searching for unlockable bikinis and Cadbury Eggs, then who are you trying to kid? That's Fake Longevity. It's in capitals because it's a thing.

Post-Game Content Hurts So Bad

It doesn't always make the game better. Sometimes it just makes it more painful to play, and you don't want that kind of reaction, now do you? (Unless you're the people who made Dark Souls. Pain seems to be their Prime Directive. But I digress.) And why not take all those resources and spend them on the game proper, focusing on a richer, more polished experience as opposed to a merely longer one? Today's video game players finish a surprisingly low percentage of the games they play, so why not give them a fighting chance? That ending of yours must have cost at least 2 million dollars in CGI. You wouldn't want anyone to miss it.

Post-Game Content Hurts So Bad

Because let's be honest. For all it's "groundbreaking cinematics," none of you ever got to see this scene. Stupid birds.

EPILOGUE: Here is the part where I include all manner of disclaimers and howevers. For instance, there are some cases where searching the post-game map for goodies opens up such a substantial part of that map that it feels like the game is still running, with hidden plot threads and alternate endings only adding to the effect. If a game is incredibly easy, putting in genuine and brutal challenges after the game is done may sometimes be the only way to keep half your player base from hating you. And as for ruining a wonderful plot, well, some games just don't have one, softening the "this game hasn't really ended" blow, as the game after the end can manage to look a lot like the game before. So yeah, there's a time and place for everything.

But even then it's not something you can get right 100% of the time, and I'm not sure if it should be the go-to method for developers today. This is what I was trying to say in the text above, although I could have been less ranty about it.

I'm becoming quite tactless lately. Oh dear, I think Tumblr's rubbing off on me. Help!

...Oh, and by the way, has post-game content ever kept you from finishing a game you really liked? How often can you wrap up endgame extras? Sound off in the comments below, and find the rest of my writing (If you can call it that) on my

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