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6 Awesome Game Over Screens Worth Dying For –

 

 

Rare

As legions of frustrated, controller throwing, floor stamping, rage quitting, gaming nerds all over the world know: losing sucks. When we play games, we play to win, and this means that there’s little worse than seeing the screen fade to black and getting that devastating GAME OVER text appearing on the screen.

A GAME OVER is usually the last thing any gamer wants to see. In 99% of cases, the death screen merely displays the words ‘Game over’ or ‘You died’ or something to that effect, occasionally with a (not so) helpful hint on how to be less dead next time you play.

However, truly great developers see the game over screen as just another way to get creative. Rather than being obnoxious or irritating, they can be funny, interesting, unique to the situation, sarcastic, hyperbolic to the point of hilarity, or just plain old messed up. They make the best of a bad situation, a resounding triumph of your failures.

First, take a moment of silence for your fallen protagonist of choice, and then let’s have a gander at those game overs that were actually worth dying for…

6. Theme Park – Suicidal CEO

The Plater View of Their Park

Let’s kick off with some dark humour incredibly inappropriate in a kid friendly game, shall we?

Theme Park is a construction and management sim that rode the craze of similar ‘run your own virtual business’ games that were inexplicably ubiquitous from the mid-90s through to the early 2000s. The aim was to construct and manage your own theme park. Buying attractions, upgrading facilities, selling hot dogs, and making enough virtual cash to attract even the snootiest of virtual gold diggers.

But one thing that sets Theme Park aside from the rest is the game over sequence. Rather than a simple ‘Game Over’ or ‘Your Park Has Gone Out Of Business’ or something to that effect, gamers were treated to a cutscene ending.

In it, we see the reflection of the (now broke) CEO in his family portrait on his desk clamber out of the window and jump from the building, all to the tune of some foreboding, funeral style organ music. It’s enough to give a first time viewer a mini-heart attack.

Not to worry though, his cheeky little face pops up over the window only a moment later, and it’s revealed the building was only one story high. Clearly the devs liked their humour as black as the night sky, and in retrospect it was a good move, as nobody would ever talk about this game anymore were it not for this morbid, gallows humour style game over.

5. Batman Arkham Series – Unique Enemy Taunts

Rocksteady

The Batman: Arkham series got a hell of a lot right. Sure, the final instalment of the series had its fair share of Batmobile shaped flaws, but one consistent little benefit to the series was the plethora of unique villainous taunts and clips that signed off each game over.

Lose to Killer Croc in Origins? Be rewarded with a POV of him rearing forward to tear your throat out. How about failing to protect the GCPD in Arkham Knight? Enjoy a neat little ending that sees gunmen burst in on Oracle and slaughter everyone in the building. How about you mess up the riddler puzzle with Catwoman? You get to watch her panic as the bomb in her neck detonates, hope you don’t feel too guilty about that!

The best of the bunch have to be Joker’s though. In particular, his panicked shouting when you die in Arkham Knight, knowing that as you die, he dies too.

‘Ooops! You’re dead! Wait, does that mean I’m dead?! GET UP BRUCE! GET UP!!!’

The hundreds of different endings play to another of the Arkham series’ strengths, it’s incredible, B:TAS infused voice cast.

4. Fallout PC (1997) – Hilariously Over The Top Narrative

Black Isle Studios

Sometimes a game can rub in your failures to the point that of absolute hilarity. Seriously, just check out the closing message that Fallout gives you upon failure.

‘Your defeat has brought chaos to the Federation. Your cowardice and betrayal shall be known throughout the stars. Your decaying corpse will be an object for ridicule and scorn. Disgrace will follow your family for centuries.

Once adorned and worshipped by all, your rotting flesh will serve as a reminder of the price of failure.

Oh, the horrible pain of defeat…’

Ouch man, okay I failed! Not only you, but myself, my parents, my dog…

The hyperbolic message adds a degree of hilarity to your failure, as well as hyping you up for another round. It’s also a testament to the good natured sense of fun and creativity of the original Fallout development team.

3. Ninja Gaiden Arcade – The Descending Buzzsaw Of Doom

Team Ninja

These days, the contemporary gaming world is locked around the multiplayer online world experienced from the comfort of a living room bean bag. It’s easy to forget that for a significant portion of the medium’s history games were a pay-per-play arcade driven money maker, taking more loose change from kid’s pockets than all the stereotypical American ‘give us your lunch money’ High School bullies 80s Hollywood could throw at us.

As a consequence of this, games went to hysterical lengths to get kids to keep pumping those quarters. Enter: Ninja Gaiden Arcade.

Upon death, players are given the option to continue. No pressure, by the way, but your character is tied to a board, surrounded by demons, and there’s a literal buzzsaw being slowly lowered into your chest.

When it’s a game over, you gotta know it’s a game over, ya know? If you don’t have a buzzsaw being lowered into your chest how are the kids going to know the game’s finished? It’s the classic, bombastic, intensity fuelled fury early arcade games are famous for, and captured the spirit of the generation of brilliantly ridiculous classic game overs.

2. Nier Automata – Fishing > Fighting

Square Enix

Nier Automata has 26 endings, but by far the most inspirationally facetious is ‘L’. As the narrative draws close to its apex in chapter 10_02, rather than confront the boss head on in blaze of action infused glory, the player can simply choose to walk away. Doing so will give you the following game over:

‘Fed up, 2B left the camp to its fate and decided to go… fishing? Yeah, that’s it! Fishing! With a smile on her face, she packed up and headed for the coast. Ten years later, 2B would find herself hunted by both machine lifeforms and YoRHa assasins – a life she seemed to enjoy more than her previous one.’

Because, at the end of the day, who wouldn’t really rather screw work and go fishing than flip around in high heels all day? 2B, you’re the most relatable character in the history of the gaming medium.

1. Conker’s Bad Fur Day – All The Game Overs

Rare

Rare (or at the very least, 90s Rare) were the kings of the game development industry. Banjo Kazooie, Banjo Two-ie, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Diddy Kong Racing, Donkey Kong Country, freakin’ Goldeneye 007! Yes, they were titans, and the innovation, creativity and straight up fun ran through all their projects from the opening title screen right through to the game overs.

Shout out to the failure ending of Banjo Kazooie when Gruntilda successfully turns herself hot at the expense of turning Banjo’s sister into a monster, but the game overs for Conker’s Bad Fur day shine through as the best in Rareware’s canon.

If the player should happen to fail, primary villain The Panther King will inquire whether his guards retrieved Conker or not. They respond that they have, before throwing down a bloody bag of Conker’s remains, reminding us all for one final time that Conker’s Bad Fur day, no matter how much it looks like a children’s game, ain’t one for the kids.

Another, perhaps less gloomy end for our beloved red squirrel sees The Panther King makes good on his plan all along and turns Conker into a leg for his throne-side table. In classic Rare style humour, he gleefully declares how he won’t be spilling his milk anymore, as conker wriggles helplessly, acting as a supporting table leg.

Not the happiest end for certain, but a hilariously over the top optional ending that only serves as greater motivation to rise up, grab the controller and beat that Panther King bastard once and for all!

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