Before you read on, please, play this game.
Did you play it? I hope so, now, read the description.
Did you read it? Good, I knew I could trust you. My good friend Thief sent me this link on Facebook and I expected nothing more than I would from any other flash game. After playing it, I still wasn’t thinking about it too deeply. Then he told me to read the description and that’s when I got to thinking.
All I knew was that I was a purple meteor, and out of nowhere an orange meteor came and bonked me. At first I thought this meteor was my enemy, but as I kept playing it seemed more playful than agressive. My drive to “beat” him was still there, however.
Clouds passed and now the camera was closer. Stars came from nowhere, and orange wanted them so I wanted them too. I fought with him to get more without even knowing if I had to…I just wanted more than my fellow meteor.
Clouds passed again, our colors dulled and a timer appeared. I had no idea what to think. Orange took a hit from a meteor, and it made me feel bad. Without even knowing that I didn’t have a choice, I took a meteor to make sure he didn’t die. Then the big timer started, and I noticed earth drawing closer with every passing second… I admit, I got behind Orange and in the end, he took the hit. I floated away in a sea of orange dust.
I made choices throughout the game without knowing what effect they would have. I chose to play with Orange in the beginning, I tried to get more stars, I took a meteor so he didn’t have to take a second hit, but in the end I chose my own life over his.
Sure, you may think of the outcome that follows a few minutes, hours, days after such is made, but how will it effect me it the long run?
As much as I love “choice” in video games, the ones you’re given are usually all the same. Do the “right” thing and you’re a good guy, do “wrong” and you’re bad. It is so black and white, we make the decisions basically knowing that we will get a good ending or a bad ending, friends will live or friends will die. Your speech and your actions have an effect on how you are percieved.
But what happens when there isn’t a single word spoken…when the objectives aren’t clear? Through the entirety of The End of Us you don’t know if Orange is your friend or your enemy. You never give a second thought to bashing into Orange, taking the stars from him, but when you are given the choice whether or not to let him die, your choice is only driven by You, the player.
At the end, you don’t know if you made a good choice or a bad choice no matter which you chose. Did you just kill your mortal enemy? Did you just kill your friend? Did you sacrifice yourself to save your friend? Or did Orange kill you for his own safety? You don’t know, there is no definitve answer, only your own feelings.
Of course a big budget video game like Mass Effect couldn’t exactly pull this off cause who wants to play a game for 30 hours to get an ending of, “What just happened?” But choices don’t have to be so straight forward, black and white. They should be driven by what the player feels instead of getting “a good ending.”
As always, thank you for reading, and I thoroughly apologize for anyone that enjoyed my articles, I realize I haven’t written in a while and that is sure to change. Clovenhoof, AWAY!!!