Nobody’s perfect. Chances are that if you’ve played a video game before, you’ve died more than just a handful of times. Sometimes dying can be a chore, as players are forced to thread over familiar ground in order to reach the next objective. In the case of the games below, however, failure can be a reward, though not in the traditional sense. The best game over screens are those that make us laugh at our own shortcomings, enticing us to play better once we give the game another go. There’s no better teacher than failure, after all. Yoda agrees.
Best Game Over Screens – Ryu’s Violent Death (Ninja Gaiden)
The original Ninja Gaiden really wants kids to keep feeding Tecmo’s arcade machines with coins. If fans aren’t successful in this brutally hard game, they’ll be greeted with a screen that has ninja protagonist Ryu tied up with a bunch of demons around him, each eagerly waiting for a buzz saw to sink itself into the hero’s stomach.
Should players not feed the machine with enough coins in time, the saw will plummet into Ryu’s gut and splash the screen red in blood. A short creepy tune plays as the words “Game Over” appear to let you know that the ninja is indeed very dead. Imagine being a kid and feeling guilty for not giving this ninja just one last quarter. I’d be scarred for life. It is pretty fun to watch as an adult though.
Best Game Over Screens – 2B Goes Fishing (Nier: Automata)
There are a lot of endings to discover in Nier: Automata. The best one is dubbed “L: [L]onely Wolf.” It occurs in chapter 10 if players decide to run away from the boss fight at the end. Rather than forcing fans to head into the heat of battle, Automata accepts the player’s choice and leaves the camp to burn to the ground all on its own.
It then lets fans know that 2B decided to go fishing and live the next 10 years of her life on the coast relaxing. While machines and YoRHa assassins occasionally show up to cause trouble, the game states that 2B enjoys her new life quite a good deal more than what she experienced throughout the course of the game. It turns out that this momentary act of cowardice goes a long way in giving the android girl some well-deserved peace and quiet. You’re welcome, 2B.
Best Game Over Screens – The Butthole Catastrophe (South Park: The Stick of Truth)
South Park: The Stick of Truth poses to players a serious question: are you willing to shrink down to the size of an ant to travel deep inside Mr. Slave’s anus? The fate of the entire world hinges on this one query. Should fans accept this mission, a whole new realm awaits them within this hairy man’s rectum. Should fans turn away from the task and leave the room, the world explodes and the game’s credits begin to play. They really aren’t joking about the whole thing.
Best Game Over Screens – Fission Mailed (Metal Gear Solid 2)
It’s hard to separate fiction from reality during Metal Gear Solid 2‘s final moments. As Raiden, players are tasked with escaping a facility alongside Solid Snake. In one particular section, the playing field is relegated to a small portion of the screen while the rest displays what would typically be the title’s game over sequence.
This time, however, the clearly misspelled phrase “Fission Mailed” is displayed on the top. It doesn’t signify that the player actually died, though is successful in distracting fans long enough to make them lose a lot of life. The game really isn’t over, but you may end up losing a bit of your sanity.
Best Game Over Screens – Suicidal CEO (Theme Park)
As its name implies, Theme Park is a game that tasks players with building and managing their own amusement park. Fans are in charge of filling their land with whatever attractions they see fit, so long as consumers take a liking to them. There are also options for food vendors, aquatic playgrounds, and more, plus the ability to upgrade existing facilities to make them more robust and future-proof.
Should players fail to accrue a decent amount of cash and become bankrupt, a cutscene will play. In it, the CEO of the park climbs atop the windowsill in his office and leaps off, presumably to his death. He soon pops his head out from outside to signal to the player that he’s OK, as his office was only on the first floor. Though the former boss didn’t actually commit suicide, the concept of including this in such a kid-centric game is simultaneously morbid and over-the-top. It’s truly something you have to see to believe.
Best Game Over Screens – Pretty Much Every Game Over Screen (Conker’s Bad Fur Day)
It’s hard to choose just one game over screen in Conker’s Bad Fur Day. Each one offers just enough motivation for the player to pick up his or her controller and destroy The Panther King once and for all. They’re all also a stark reminder that this game is really not for kids. From the bag of Conker’s remains to the squirrel’s face on a milk carton, there’s certainly no innocence to be found here. Some of these are pretty funny too, like Conker acting as a leg for the king’s throne-side table. Poor guy. At least the king won’t be spilling his milk anymore, right?
While a lot of games like to rub failure in your face, those above do so with just a little more class. Some are funny while others are just plain outrageous. Whatever the case, these will stick in our minds for time to come, if only because we learned a thing or two from our mistakes and had a decent laugh along the way.