10 Bleak Game Over Screens That Crushed You

Kicking you while you're down.

Mass effect 3 ending
Bioware

Games have always been a tricky time balancing win and fail states. The constant push towards beating the story or reaching an objective is their central hook.

When you succeed, it's euphoric, but when you fail it can be punishing.

Starting off with the old style game over screens, titles used simple messages to tell the player that they'd run out of lives or time. Considering how difficult video games were at the time, a game over was the last thing you wanted to see. Having to do the whole game again was your punishment.

When technology pushed forwards, developers started getting more ambitious and the unique fail states followed suite. With an increased focus on complexity, games are now able to go much bleaker. Losing can now come at a much higher price, depending on genre and context.

Going beyond simple death scenes, these horrific ending sequences reinforced the weight of the player's failure. They were either creepy, punishing or a combination of both.

If nothing else, many a gamer was seriously creeped out or deflated when these games came to an abrupt end.

10. Mass Effect 3

The highly anticipated final chapter to the wildly popular Mass Effect trilogy boasted many high moments, but became more widely known for its contentious endgame.

As Commander Shepherd, your world is put on the line as the Reapers invade the Milky Way. Death and destruction are rife and you're tasked with solving problems that have plagued the setting for years. It's a desperate bid to rally the many species behind you to take on the deadly synthetic foes.

Mass Effect 3's ending was widely controversial and divisive amongst fans, so much so that Bioware would release an extended cut to address many of its shortcomings. Alongside all the ending slides and new scenes, a fourth ending found its way into the mix.

To the dismay of some players, it didn't provide a way to beat the Reapers conventionally.

Refusing to use the catalyst, your efforts throughout the entire trilogy were effectively wasted in this specific conclusion. With everyone and everything dying at the hands of the metallic monsters, we immediately cut to a future world. Buried beneath the ground, series favourite Liara T'Soni relays your failure to win the war as a downbeat score plays.

So much for all those war assets you built up...

Contributor

A tough but fair writer and critic broadly covering games, movies and just about every type of entertainment media. Spent a good part of the last seven years blogging and more recently, making amateur videos under "The Cainage Critique". You can follow my work on my website https://robc25.wixsite.com/thecainagecritique and my YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCftJ6WcozDaECFfjvORDk3w