Video Game Finality
by Tim Burke, Form III
4 min. read — April 29, 2022
When playing video games, there will often be a story that plays out throughout the game, but there are many instances where there is no story, and there is either an open world or it’s just player versus player content. In very few cases, the game is a mixture of both story and open gameplay. Those without stories tend to have no end to the gameplay, since there’s no endpoint to get to, and you can play for as long as you want. Meanwhile, games that have stories often end once the story ends, and you have to reset the entire game to even play again, but sometimes when the story ends the game will just let you.
In the case of Minecraft, there is no story to play through and no definite endpoint to the game. While the End Dimension featured in Minecraft acts as an end, as the name would suggest, and the Ender Dragon acts as the final boss or final enemy to defeat, other people use it as a gateway to more things to do. After the Dragon is slain, the player gains access to more items and locations, therefore there are more things to do, and there is never a limit to what is possible. Being a sandbox game, Minecraft allows you to do whatever you want and lets you look back on where you started in that world, or even look back on old worlds from years past, as it doesn’t hurt to have a bit of nostalgia every so often.
In regards to Pokemon, there is a story to it, but once completed, the game lets you roam the world freely, create your own team, battle your friends, complete the Pokedex, and do anything else you want to do. As is demonstrated throughout the series of Pokemon games there is a series of objectives to get to but very few restrictions on how to complete them, besides the order they are done in. While you must complete the gyms in a certain order and then battle the champion, there is no designated way to achieve that, as you can pick whatever pokemon you want for your team and have them know whatever moves you want out of the pokemon and moves available at the time. As you progress through the game more pokemon become available and they can learn new moves, and evolve as you level them up, allowing for more play styles to emerge. While the gameplay is not infinite, there is certainly enough to do to last many hours of playtime.
Lastly, with the case of Portal 2, there is a set story and a specific way to complete each level. While it is a puzzle-solving game, allowing for a lot of time to be spent figuring out how to get through it, and a multiplayer mode separate from the single-player mode with more puzzles, they do run out sooner or later. Once you have finished the story, there is no extra content to play through (other than the multiplayer mode previously mentioned), leaving you to play through the same exact story again if you so desire. Despite being just one story and nothing else, Portal 2 is a game I highly recommend playing through if you have a chance because it not only makes you think outside the box a lot, but is also available on many consoles including XBox, PC, and Nintendo Switch.
In the end, video games are very different from each other in many ways, including playstyle, genre, platform, and how it looks at finality. If you are making a game, you want to consider where you want it to end, if at all, and how to keep the players engaged. If you are making a sandbox game, you want to have a big world to explore, and a lot of features for the player to use. If you are making a game where players play against each other, you should make the world smaller and more contained. If you want a story to be in your game and nothing else, keep the world contained to what’s relevant to your story so your player doesn’t get lost. If you want something in between, do what Pokemon did and have a world big enough to explore but keep it small enough to keep the player on track with the story, with ways to play with or against friends. There is no correct way to make your game because there is no correct way to have fun, no objectively good games, and there is no correct way to spend your time; however, there are things you should be doing at certain times, like doing your homework at the right time, not right before class because you played video games all night or writing a priory press article the night before the due date, even though you had all easter break to do it.