“End-game” is essentially planned obsolescence. There’s only so many toys that your parents can give you before they run out of money. There’s only so many rides on the theme park, and only so much time in the day to go on the rides. You can cry all you want, but you’re never going to persuade the finitude of the human condition to cater to your demands.
I don’t go out of my way for things. I don’t push for high scores. I don’t build mega-projects. I don’t make mods. I get to “endgame,” sure. I get all the top-tier equipment. I run the optimal farming routes a few times. But then, that’s pretty much it. I try to make my character look good. I take a few screenshots, and – that’s it. I’m off the ride.
It’s hard to leave, but it’s also hard to stay. It’s frustrating to reminisce over rose-tinted experiences, return to reality expecting a renewed outlook on things, and receive the opposite. Everything done from that point onward feels like a pale shadow of “what once was.” You’ll hit highs, but you’ll never quite hit that exact configuration of emotions ever again. You’ll get close, so close – but it’ll never be quite the same as when everything was fresh. The decomposition of emotion cannot be reversed.
Unless you play another game. Then, hoh, you’re looking at some new stuff. Now you’re cooking. A newer game? An older game. Something to shift perspectives; something new to fawn over. Something to hold you over until you can refresh your enthusiasm for that other game, right? Wrong. You play this game a little, you play that game a little, you come back – all of a sudden, you’re more jaded than a professional Japanese animation reviewer. You’re sick of this game, you’re sick of that game – you’re already sick of a game that hasn’t even come out yet. One look at the synopsis tells you all you need to know.
You start seeing patterns. Formulas, ingredients, reagents, reactants, recipes, results – you start seeing patterns in places that shouldn’t have patterns, and correlations between things that have no relation – you’ve seen too much. You still see too much. You can tell whether or not a game is good by the first letter of its title. Games that start with the letter N? Not even gonna read the rest of the title. Games that have an abundance of turquoise in their cover art? Into the garbage bin.
If you let this go on for a while, something interesting starts happening.
The world moves along in its usual nausea-inducing rotations, and eventually, you stop bothering with video-games entirely. You go cold turkey, and everything’s fine. Everything’s beautiful. You go out, you take a hike, and you meet some guy who tells you to “take care of his procedural generation” for a few days. You oblige, and immediately afterwards, you get teleported onto a remote island in the middle of the Caribbean, accompanied by nothing but a computer with one chrome tab open and a router.
The tab is on twitter. You’re logged in. You look at the profile name.
It reads: “Sean Murray.”
As you let go of the mouse, a popup fills the screen, and says “Now it’s your turn.”