COLUMN: Students should shoot to play non-blockbuster video games
The lack of new “My Little Pony” episodes last week only was the second-most depressing aspect of February. What I found truly crushing was a new statistics out of the “Guinness World Records 2012 Gamer’s Edition” about the top video game endings of all time.
AT A GLANCE
Guiness World Records Top 10 Game Greatest Video Game Endings:
Call of Duty: Black Ops
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
God of War
Red Dead Redemption
Metal Gear Solid 4
Final Fantasy VII
According to the website, 13, 519 gamers voted on what they considered to be the best video game endings of all time. The poll crowned “Call of Duty: Black Ops” as the best ending in gaming history, just ahead of “Halo: Reach.”
“The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” did place third on the list, which makes me feel a little better. But the results still are pretty awful.
I’m not saying this because I hate first-person shooters. Rather, these results confirm a fear I’ve had lately about the state of the modern gaming scene — that it’s beginning to lose an appreciation for “the classics.”
Take the most egregious omission from the list, the original “Metroid” for the original Nintendo from 1986. From an oblivious modern perspective, the ending doesn’t appear all that revolutionary. After escaping an alien planet, the main character, Samus, removes her helmet and looks at the screen — what’s so good about that?
But taken in historical context, this surely is one of the best endings to any game ever.
Throughout the game, there had been no reference at all to the hero’s gender, so when the space suit was pulled off to reveal long hair and breasts, it was an utter shock to gamers of that era who had simply assumed Samus was a man. In 1986, that was revolutionary, even risky, because the gamer demographic was male-dominated. It broke new ground in the industry by proving female protagonists in games.
Take this landmark moment in gaming, Samus’ unmasking, and compare it to the endings of any of the “Call of Duty” games. Were they as revolutionary? Can you even remember them? Their endings don’t stick out in my mind, at all.
The gaming scene is growing fast right now, and I recognize that as it grows, the proportion of gamers who experienced “the classics” will shrink.
In the same way, the typical mainstream reader is unlikely to deem Atticus Finch his or her favorite literary hero. I expect today’s typical gamer would not heavily cite Kain from “Final Fantasy IV” or Crono from “Chrono Trigger.”
That said, I want to take this opportunity to plead with anyone reading this who may have voted in the Guinness poll: Step back from today’s blockbuster titles and consider looking back on gaming’s illustrious back catalog. You don’t have to enjoy “the classics,” but it would enrich your appreciation of gaming as an art form to recognize their significance.
Steven Zoeller is a journalism sophomore.