Clue's Multiple Endings Confused Everyone Way Before Mass Effect 3

I love the movie Clue. I've seen it over a dozen times. I can quote whole sections verbatim, and any time I feel annoyed by someone, I suffer from flames on the side of my face and heaving breaths. The board game is great, but the movie will always be the Clue that has my heart.

Its multiple gag endings are now a classic bit of cinema history. But every time I've watched Clue, it's been either on DVD or on VHS, and so I saw all of the endings one right after the other, but during its 1985 theatrical run, Clue was presented with the same multiple endings we all know and love, but each theatre only got one.

Film critics at the time didn't quite know what to make of it, nor did many audiences. In his review, Roger Ebert calls the multiple endings idea "ingenious", though he didn't like the movie enough to recommend people actually go around to multiple theatres to see the endings.

From Ebert's review:

"'Clue' is a comedy whodunit that is being distributed with three different endings, which is sort of silly, since it doesn't make the slightest bit of difference who did it. That makes the movie a lot like the board game which inspired it, where it didn't make any difference either, since you could always play another game."

Despite being an ardent fan of the film, I'd never thought of the parallels before. Here we've got a movie that has multiple endings, each of which combine to tell the viewer "Actually, nothing that happened in the movie really matters! It's one of these endings, but who cares which one?" Sound familiar?

Yes, Clue had a few things in common with the ending to the Mass Effect trilogy, and more broadly, to any story-based game with multiple outcomes.

Clue's multiple-theatres-multiple-endings stunt was a flop and most people weren't interested enough to actually go to multiple viewings to see multiple endings. But think if they had — it wouldn't have been all that different from those of us who do multiple play-throughs of BioWare games like Mass Effect just to see the various endings we can get.

When he reviewed the film, Ebert gave this advice: "Since this movie is so short anyway (88 minutes), why doesn't the studio abandon the ridiculous multiple-ending scheme and show all three endings at every theatre? It would be more fun that way."

Apparently Paramount agreed, as the film's video release did just that. By packaging the movie with all of the endings stacked in a row, it became clear that really, despite the "real" ending embedded here, there was no actual true ending.

I'm not suggesting that Mass Effect 3's ending would be improved if BioWare strung all of the possible outcomes together with the jaunty Clue theme music playing.

However, I am suggesting someone else do this and post it to YouTube. Because that would be pretty funny.


    "I’m not suggesting that Mass Effect 3‘s ending would be improved if BioWare strung all of the possible outcomes together with the jaunty Clue theme music playing."

    So they'd string together all... one of the outcomes?

    I loved Clue. It was silly fun. The DVD release is pretty cool because you can either have all of the endings played or you can set it to pick one at random.

    Those endings were better then mass effects end Lol

    Seriously?? You're comparing Clue to the ending of Mass Effect 3 when one's a movie and a board game before that (Clue) to an INTERACTIVE VIDEO GAME where multiple endings especially RPG video games in which ME3 is considered to be have and must have? LMAO. Wow...really grasping at straws there to justify what Bioware did. That's New low established for defending the ending with that.

    *SPOILERS FOR MASS EFFECT 3* (but seriously you should have played it by now)

    I chose the middle ending on my first play through, without having read anything at all about the end a.k.a. the Synthesis choice - and i actually thought THAT particular ending made sense in the context:

    It changed everything, we got to see Joker and Edi together being all Synth/Organic combo, the leaves on the "double moon forest planet" they landed on had little weird circuitry bits in them -The when the "Stargazer" talked to the kid it kind of game me one thought - This ending is full of possibilities, this ending is an unknown, and this feels appropriate in the context of the choice.

    Then i reloaded my save game to see the other 2 - cue disappointment. Barely any change, except for a different colour explosion. THAT is bad. THAT is not what i expect from Bioware.

    Unfortunate really. We shall see what happens when they release this "DLC ending"

    Mass effect had multiple outcomes? Oh the color difference? Right...

    If they retcon the ending with DLC, they could do the whole "this might have been what happened... or this... but this is what REALLY happened. It'd take a little of the sting out of the crumminess of the original endings.

    Just another Kokatu "journalist" comparing something to Mass Effect 3 ending. When you're ready to rejoin us in April 2012 Kokatu, lemme know.

    To be known as Mass Effect 1 + 1 + 2 + 1?

      *LIKE* x 100

    Wasn't this the same idea behind the Paranormal Activity films? (Or one of them, at least?)

    So Kotaku won't cover the cleverly thought out YouTube video (not Indoc. Theory - "Mass Effect 3 Ending: Tasteful, Understated Nerdrage (SPOILERS)" on YouTube) but they'll run this crap?

    That's it, where's Ars Technica?

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