Electhead’s multiple endings completely broke my brain

An electrified cartoon robot runs towards the viewer.

picture: Nama Takahashi

It is common for games to have multiple endings, usually classified as “good” or “bad” depending on their content and the consequences leading to their conclusions. electron is a little different, if only because it turns that paradigm on its head.

I don’t know why you’re even here if you’re worried electron Spoilers, but stop reading if you don’t want to learn more about what I specifically mentioned in the headline (i.e. the only thing most people read anyway).

Image for article titled Eelecheads multiple Endings Completely Broke My Brain

From June 23rd electron is available on Switch, which means I finally got the chance to try out its electrifying brain teasers without having to play the Steam version on the same laptop I work on nine hours a day. I spent my nights exploring the futuristic environments from the comfort of my bed, eventually completing the game in less than a week.

I loved it. electron was all people said after launching in 2021, offering hours of delightful puzzle platforming without exceeding the welcome. And then I decided to unlock the true ending.

While playing electron, you will inevitably come across datachip-like items that serve as the game’s main collectibles. Some are in plain sight while others are hidden and require skillful manipulation electron‘s mechanics to discover. When I got to the end of the game I was still missing a few so had to watch what I thought was the “bad” ending.

The end starts at 36:29 if the timestamp doesn’t work. Nama Takahashi / itch.io

Pretty melancholic stuff. Elechead the robot sticks his electric head into some sort of machine, the space station on which the entire game appears to take place goes supernova, and the light from the resulting explosion illuminates a nearby Earth. After a great cut to a late title screen and intense music, the short credits roll –electron was created by just two people – and you’ll be taken back to the beginning of the game.

Don’t want to finish electron pretty soon I immediately set about collecting the last few datachips to unlock the “good” ending (again, its kindness is just an assumption on my part). It didn’t take long before I walked through a conspicuous door, now unlocked thanks to my brief treasure hunt, and then watched an elevator carry the game’s eponymous hero towards fate.

“Elechead basically died on the other end,” I thought to myself, “so this one might be a little bit happier.” It wasn’t.

Go to 33:26 for this ending when the timestamp is shaky again. Nama Takahashi / itch.io

Instead of the space station exploding like at the other end, the “real” electron To finish, your tiny robotic protagonist activates a gigantic cannon that completely obliterates the earth. Title screen, credits, what the heck just happened.

I was taught to expect certain tropes from video games. For example, if you have collectibles, the ending you get after packing everything is generally considered “good,” or at least better than the ending you get otherwise. Collect all Chaos Emeralds Sonic the Hedgehog 2 1992, for example, rewarded the player with a new story ending where Sonic becomes Super Sonic. It hardly changed the story, but seeing the Blue Blur go Super Saiyan felt like a great reward for beating all those frustrating Specials.

Tries to match electron Into this form my brain broke. Earth is far from perfect, but is it bad enough to make its total destruction a “good” ending? Maybe in the world of electron, the planet has been taken over by even more dangerous weirdos bent on, I dunno, destroying the entire universe with some sort of incredibly massive nuclear weapon? In that case, Elechead’s death and subsequent inability to destroy Earth would be a “bad” ending for more than just seeing a cute character bite the dust.

Maybe it’s deeper than that. While electron Superficially appearing like a simplistic indie game, it’s possible the developers were trying to make the medium’s clichéd dichotomy between good and evil more explicit. What is good? what is evil Aren’t we all capable of great beauty and great destruction? And is creating something beautiful inherently good and destroying it always an act of evil? I think we can all agree that killing babies is bad, but killing Baby Hitler is a little more complicated.

Of course, like most great works of art, electron leaves this conversation to the player. It’s not even a topic that you have to take into account to fully enjoy the game. electron is well worth your time from a pure gameplay standpoint thanks to its great presentation and clever puzzles. But sometimes it’s fun to take things a little too seriously to encourage such thought experiments. I obviously don’t have all the answers, so I’d love to hear what other people think of these endings.

https://kotaku.com/elechead-switch-steam-good-bad-ending-collectibles-1849158240 Electhead’s multiple endings completely broke my brain

Curtis Crabtree

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