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Star Fox 64 cover STAR FOX 64 (1997)

So, after that touching reunion with Ghost Dad, the ending to this game is just a whole lotta flying and running. Which is unfortunate, because the game has a pretty good story: The Star Fox team are mercenaries hired by the Cornerian army to defeat Andross and his army, who was exiled from Corneria for experiments that nearly destroyed the planet and, oh yeah, he also killed Fox McCloud’s dad. So, it’s not business, but personal…although that doesn’t stop him from getting paid.

It’s a fun game but the ending is really just about sitting around and waiting to enter your high score, so you can compare how awesome you are in comparison to past iterations of yourself.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time cover THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: OCARINA OF TIME (1998)

The ending of this game may be #3 on the 50 Best Video Game Endings Of All Time list, but it’s #1 in my heart (that might have to do with the fact that I’ve never played #2 or #1 on that list). It’s truly a prime example of “bittersweet,” and even now, as an adult male not prone to emotional outbursts, as well as one who has beaten this game many time in the past….this dude still gets misty-eyed when Navi flies off into the window. And is there another game that gets you to emotionally invest as much as this game? Consider my heartstrings pulled…and I haven’t actually played the game in YEARS

In some ways the ending to this game is like the end of A Link to the Past, in that everything bad that Ganon has done has been reversed…at least it is for Link. Really, there are now two timelines that have been created; the one with the 6 sages having returned to the world that “Adult Link” briefly visited and now in recovery from Ganon’s tyranny, and then Link being returned to his original timeline, except all the bad stuff presumably never happened, and no one but him (and maybe Zelda) knows about it. I guess that makes it a happy ending times two, with both Hyrules being rid of evil.

Even with the possible temporal paradox, this ending is great, and wraps up an even better story the best way possible.

Paper Mario cover PAPER MARIO (2001)

Paper Mario might just be my favorite game to play of all time; not saying it’s the best game ever, but it might be the most fun overall. Can it really compare to the modern great games like Call of Duty and War of Warcraft, where the playing world is so much more expanded and the gameplay is more life-like, or racier games like Grand Theft Auto where I can kill a hooker while listening to an uncensored version of Nuthin’ but a “G” Thang? I just think there are too many variables to accurately compare video games, but I think Paper Mario has the perfect blend of RPG and the action of the standard 2D gameplay that personifies the Mario gameplay. It’s RPG first and foremost, but has Mario-ness in it to be recognizable as a Mario game. I also like how some of the other players (really, just Koopa, Princess and the unfortunately-named Twink) actually have some kind of personality. If there was ever to be a Mario movie — and the one with Bob Hoskins doesn’t count, for a variety of reasons — the basic plot to Paper Mario would suffice.

As far as the ending is concerned, I like how you can still do stuff like walk around Toad Town and talk to all the NPCs you’ve met during the game, but after playing the entire game you’re sick of talking to these one-dimensional characters. The parade at the end is fun to watch, sure, but after Ocarina of Time the bar had certainly been lifted, and I’m not sure this game reaches it. But it’s cute, and you get to see all the characters (villains and otherwise) and some of them do funny stuff, but….meh.

Also, considering how may times Mario saved the Princess and the two are barely beyond hand-holding and a polite kiss on the cheek or nose, their relationship is starting to look a little ridiculous. Is Peach a total snob, who can’t get over Mario’s commoner upbringing? Is Mario a needy co-dependent or a slovenly Al Bundy type that Peach cannot stand? Is the Princess only excited by the thrill of being kidnapped, and grows despondent after the thrill of escape wears off? (Might explain why she’s been captured by Koopa SOOOO many times.) I’m no Dr. Phil over here, but it’s time these two had The Talk or else perhaps Mario should go back to plumbing full-time, if you know what I mean.

Super Mario 64 cover

 SUPER MARIO 64 (1996)

Now THAT is how the Princess should greet Mario after he went to all that trouble to save her from that giant rape dragon: Thank him (duh), a peck on that giant grapefruit of a nose, and a homemade cake. I also enjoyed all the panoramic shots of each level, although futzing around with the 3D cameras during actual gameplay wasn’t always easy.

Just like the ending to (most) other Mario games, the ending is pleasant without really adding anything to the story.  The Princess is saved and everyone is happy. Yippie.

The 50 Best Video Game Endings Of All Time

Like I said in my very first post, I was not going rank the top video game endings.  Well, the Guinness Book of World Records decided to do so earlier this year, and the Kotaku website lists them all. Can’t really say how you can compare a 5-second 8-bit ending like Super Mario Bros (#11) with any of the modern, cinema-like endings of today, or even heart-wrenching ending to Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (#3).

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