How to Get the Best Ending

Getting the best ending is the goal almost every gamer has in their mind when they play a new story-driven, choice-based game. As a video game viewer and occasional player, I often scour YouTube to find all the endings, even if they are only slightly different. My favorite games to play and watch are the ones where you feel like you are in control of the narrative. These games are grander versions of the choose-your-own adventure books we read as kids. They have timed choices like dialogue responses and actions that add consequences that are immediate (your character dies) and delayed (you can’t get help from Mr. Dog because you didn’t bring the dog biscuit). Choice-based games cover a wide array of genres such as horror (Oxenfree), romance (Choices on mobile devices), and adventure (Firewatch) making them enjoyable for everyone.

Telltale’s The Walking Dead is the first choice-based game I watched. The characters of Lee and Clementine were realistic, emotional, and strong. I rooted for them to dodge the walkers (a.k.a. zombies), choose the right people to form a group with, and ultimately survive the apocalypse, because they felt real to me. Their relationship reminded me of my father and I because of how much Lee cared for Clementine as a guardian. I connected to them because they were African American like me and were the stars of the game instead of the side characters. The plot of this game made me wish it was a season of AMC’s The Walking Dead television show.

girl and friends picture picnicDream Daddy gives players the opportunity to play as a new dad in a neighborhood full of other attractive single dads who were ready to romance each other. The bright colors and well-developed characters draw you in and make you wish you could date all the dads. It follows the style of a traditional dating sim with avatars for the characters that have limited motion and text with their names to show their dialogue.

Detroit: Become Human transports you to the future, where androids are integrated in society as second-class citizens. You follow the lives of three androids whose storylines are interconnected. This game uses actors from Hollywood to play the roles of the characters, with the avatars modeled after them. This game is almost as tear-jerking as Telltale’s The Walking Dead.

John Tuesday I7DfagI love these games because of the rich stories they tell. And guess what? You can make your own! Although I didn’t have coding experience, I was able to make narrative-based games that used choices as the mode of gameplay. I was able to craft a narrative game based on a story I wanted to tell. If you are interested in making games like Dream Daddy, I would suggest learning Python, as you can use the free game engine RenPy to make them. If you would like to make a strictly word-based game, I would suggest trying out Twine. It is an online game engine that uses branching diagrams to delineate choices. This is my preferred mode of choice-based game creation because it does not require a high level of coding skill to get started. There are other more advanced game engines like Unreal and Unity, and you can explore a wide variety of these games on websites like Steam and Itch.io. In my class, we used Itch.io to upload games to share with the world. It was a rewarding creative experience that helped me explore my love for writing. 

If you are still wondering “How do I get the best ending?", you should experiment by making your own game that has the best ending you write. But if you play Telltale’s The Walking Dead and make a wrong choice, just know that “Clementine will remember that.”