Are Gamers Spoiled?
Rampage is one of the first games I clearly remember playing on the NES; mostly because it had an enormous amount of levels, 128 of them (not including 21 bonus levels). In these levels you took control of either George the Gorilla or Lizzie the Lizard. They’re both rip-offs of Godzilla and King Kong, but aside from this, they can both punch, jump, and punch low (more like a dig). Their goals, to destroy buildings and stay alive in the process. You can eat mostly anything in the level, much of it giving you points and life back. Simple concept but very addictive – especially when you are a destructive eight year old like I was.
Nowadays, a video game being released with 128 levels without a save option or a checkpoint would be unheard of. I can honestly say that I completed Rampage when it first appeared on the NES back in the 80′s. It was not an easy feat, especially because I needed to keep my NES on all day and pick up playing after I came home from school and finished my homework. It was a drastic measure and I am sure my parents would not have been too happy about me leaving my NES on for 24 hours. After all my hard-work and determination, here is the ending I received after completion.
When I look at it now I shake me head in disbelief that I spent hours of my childhood playing Rampage only to receive this $hitty ending. As a child the sense of accomplishment for completing a 128 level video game – without getting punished by my parents – was enough cause for celebration. This was not the only title on the NES to have a one scene ending. Some endings had misspelled words (Ghostbusters) while others bared poor English translation (Bubble Bobble). When gamers moved onto the 16 bit era, video games began to develop fleshed out characters which in turn allowed us to have better endings. Only when the PlayStation 1 arrived did gamers begin to actually see endings that truly felt satisfying and proper save capabilities that did not rely on overdrawn passwords.
Fast forward to present day and the recent backlash BioWare received for the ending of Mass Effect 3. Fans of the Mass Effect universe were so upset with the way the trilogy wrapped up that they took to the internet and created online petitions and Facebook fan pages urging for BioWare and EA to change the ending. In a surprising mood the fanboys won and BioWare released a new ending last week as free DLC. While it is nice to see gamers bond together and stand up to the developers and publishers who put out these titles, it saddens me knowing that gamers are no longer pleased with a video game title unless the ending lives up to their expectations. Did they change the ending of Scarface because movie goers were upset that Tony Montana got shot in the back? Nope. So why should they change an ending because a few gamers want to whine?
It reminds me of that saying “You’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” Developers add the ability to save anywhere and gamers complain that the game is too easy. Force gamers to save their progress after a level and they complain that it is unfair that they need to play the entire level in order to save. Video games that can be completed in under six hours are frowned upon and some titles that take over 15 hours to complete are fleshed out with recycled level and an obscene amount of backtracking. Not every gamer is going to enjoy how every video game turns out, but who are we to complain about the way a story ends? Sure, you may say “We are the consumer, therefore we have the ability to voice our opinion on being displeased with the end results.” But truthfully speaking, if you don’t like it because it didn’t live up to your exceptions than maybe you should lower them a little and remember the endings gamers received after 20 hours of gameplay on the NES.
Now, who is down to play some TMNT?