Well, What if There Wasn’t a Final Boss?

by Chris Politz

Upon seeing this recent poll on this here wonderful website, I pondered too myself, what if? I looked at the answer choices to the poll and I thought about each one carefully. Would play it and not care . . . maybe I definitely would care I think though. Wish for a boss but play . . . nah that's not it. Play it if it was only challenging . . . possible. Wouldn't be interested . . . not at all is that right. None of these choices seemed to be the right one for me so I guess I have to compose myself in writing to answer it (damn I thought English class was over too).

My answer is that I think it would be very interesting, original, and even to the benefit of the game. I get tired of having the "final boss." How surprised would you be to get to the end of the game and have it just end. I think it would be a fresh new approach. One of my personal favorite ideas would be to replace the "final boss" with a battle of apocalyptic proportions.

Anyway, my support lies in literature. In literature, there is always some sort of conflict. You have the basics, man vs. man, man vs. nature, and man vs. himself. Now, most early literature resolved conflicts with some sort of confrontation. The conflict would be resolved after this confrontation. Let's think of this confrontation as the "final boss" of sorts.

Now, in literature classified as modernism, conflict is resolved in an epiphany rather than a confrontation. An epiphany being a sudden realization about the world around you. There is no confrontation to end the conflict. I believe this would be a good way to end a game. Why do the main characters have to be the heroes? Why can't they just realize something, I am clueless as to what. I would like to point a prime example out. Planescape Torment. An excellent game, definitely one that all of you should play. Yes it does have final boss, that you can fight, but you don't have too. You can merely will yourself together (its complicated play the game). But through out, the main character has this question in his head, "What can change the nature of a man?" In the end, he has an epiphany and realizes the answer, (I don't want to spoil it for you guys, go play the game). We don't need a final boss.

Also, here is a new one. What if you lose. There is no possible way of winning at all in the game. The ending is that you actually lose. Everything was for vain. That would be great too.

I guess what I am saying is that it would be new and refreshing not to have a final boss. I mean, it shouldn't be made a habit. But if gaming is trying to head toward an art form, it should follow the trends of its predecessors.

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