I recently bought a Super Nintendo off of Craigslist. I already had one, but it stopped working all of a sudden. So, armed with a “new” SNES, I loaded up one of my all-time favorite games, Earthbound, and lo and behold, my old savegames were still there.
In one of these savegames, my party is maxed-out at level 99 with 9,999,999 experience points and Poo has the Sword/Bracer/Cloak/Diadem of Kings. Took me 12 damn hours to get that sword. Anyway, this savegame took place more or less right before the final boss battle. Since I had maxed out my party, all the battles were extremely easy and I managed to beat the game in about 15 minutes.
And then I realized: Earthbound is one of the only games I’ve played that has a true dénouement: after you beat the final boss, you get to walk freely through every area of this very large game while a sort of lullaby plays in the background. Every single person you meet has something new to say to you, congratulating you for saving the world and oftentimes having some hilarious or satisfying conclusion to previous plot points. Talking to everyone in the game can take upwards of two hours.
Most game don’t have any dénouement at all. Or rather, it’s usually limited to an ending cinematic. What I like about Earthbound is that you actually play out the dénouement by walking around and talking to people. And you can make it as long or as short as you want, since whenever you get bored of talking to people you can go straight to your house to see your family and officially end the game.
Do you know of any other games that have a playable dénouement?