The Beginning of Endings - NES Endings Compendium, Vol. 1

The Beginning of Endings - NES Endings Compendium, Vol. 1

 The Beginning of Endings - NES Endings Compendium, Vol. 1

By Jared Petty

Let’s talk about game endings. We all have a favorite. For me, it’s the closing credits of Portal. For you, it might be Link’s Awakening, or Braid, or RDR.

We take game endings for granted now, but things weren’t always this way. Game endings were still something of a novelty in the NES era, at least in the realm of action games.

Now, some important video early games included definitive endings: Zork, Wizardry, and Ultima were all built around stories with clear victory conditions and a wrap-up to their relatively complex narratives. But this was largely a product of these games’ origins on computers. PCs could save games to tape and disk so that players could trudge through long, challenging adventures, and the relatively-high RAM of most computers allowed for more complex experiences. Also, there was no arcade owner standing behind your Apple II demanding quarter drops.

But action games were different. There wasn’t a story in Asteroids. You just shot rocks in space until you ran out of lives. Fun, but not built around any real sense of story. Arcade owners didn’t need stories. They needed simple, fun experiences that players could instantly comprehend, easy enough to pull them in, and difficult enough to eke another quarter out of them every couple of minutes.

A lot of early arcade and home video games were two-player sports, tank, or space battle simulations, and again, there was generally no real end beyond a winner determined by high score when time ran out.

Exceptions existed. Adventure by Atari boasted a complex story told almost entirely through blocky imagery, an epic quest across an open world to collect an enchanted chalice and return it to a gold castle. Bringing the magical cup into the final fortress triggered an explosive flashing celebration sequence and ended the game.

But the NES changed all that, and quickly. The blockbuster console hit American shores in the fall of 1985 with a slate of action and sports games including the incredible Super Mario Bros., which dared to taunt us at the end of each world: “The princess is in another castle.” We were finally rewarded at the end of 8-4 with a true victory message, still a rarity in games in America.

Later that year, Commando, Ghosts ‘n Goblins, and Gradius all gave us their original takes on the end-game celebration, and from then on, it was off to the races.Now, there are a LOT of NES games. Hundreds of them. And author Rey Esteban has spent years capturing and cataloging them all. Thus was born NES Endings Compendium Vol. 1: 1985-1989 from Press Run books, a comprehensive account of every NES game ending over that five year period: the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s a beautiful book styled after classic gaming magazines of the era, backed with bright screenshots and detailed written accounts and context of every ending sequence. We’re proud of it!

It’s your chance to finally get a glimpse at the end of all those rental games you just couldn’t finish, or to catch the finale of every branching path of a multi-ending game. Even if you weren’t around for the Nintendo Entertainment System era, NES Endings Compendium is such a lush and gorgeous book that we guarantee you’re going to adore flipping through every one of its 296 pages.

NES Endings Compendium Vol. 1: 1985-1989 is available to purchase starting today at Limited Run Games. This isn’t a pre-order… these books are on-hand and ready to ship.

The book comes in two editions: a bodacious hardcover and a gnarly numbered Collector’s Edition in a slipcase complete with signed Certificate of Authenticity by the author and stunning commissioned art cards.

Limited Run Games:

is a subsidiary of “Freemode”, an operative group comprised of gaming and entertainment companies owned by Embracer. Limited Run Games is the industry leader in the production and distribution of premium physical video games. Limited Run seeks to celebrate the legacy of gaming through its award-winning collector’s editions. Founded in 2015, they have published over 1,000 physical games, exclusive merch, and collectables. Limited Run is the gold standard in bringing digital games to physical form and now re-releasing retro titles on modern platforms via their proprietary Carbon Engine. Visit for the latest offerings and to learn more about Carbon Engine development. Follow the brand on your social media platform of choice for all LRG-related updates:@limitedrungames.

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