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A Means to an End, November 30, 2013
by Sharpe (Playing Kerkerkruip, the IF Roguelike)
Riveting. Inspiring. Chilling. Provoking.
If only all fiction, from video games to novels, could end so profoundly, so powerfully.
What is End Boss? It's not just a story about a hero and the final confrontation of his or her quest. It's a story about the player. Not the character—the reader, the real person at the keyboard making the choices.
Though short—it took me about five minutes to play—End Boss is rich with a voluminous background story that could fill the pages of an expansive series of novels, but it's almost entirely unexplored. We get only the most fleeting glimpse of a high-fantasy masterwork rivaling the likes of Lord of the Rings. What we see through the eyes of the main character—let us not call him or her a hero, though this story is a far cry from morally ambiguous—is a long, hard path of bloodshed and turmoil, of political conflict and inner struggle, of nations at war and personal battles, of love and loss, all played out in a series of questions posed by the "end boss."
However, the story's unspoken question echoes loudest. End Boss begs the reader to question their own heart.
How far would you go to defeat your enemy? Do the ends really justify the means?
Though he may never gain literary fame, Nick Keirle will go down as one of my all-time favorite authors.
Bravo, sir. Bravo.
And, thank you.