What’s your favourite twist of all time? Mine was at the end of The Sixth Sense, when it was revealed gradually over the next two decades that M. Night Shyamalan was a garbage writer the whole time. Truly, a meta masterstroke.
That's films, though. Video games, in general, rely upon things that the player sees coming. The flaming orbs that the imps throw at you in Doom, for example. You need to see those coming, so you can move. If you walk into a room with a bunch of health and ammo pickups, you can see that there’s a boss coming. If you’re allowed to play for more than five minutes in a Hideo Kojima game, you know there’s 45 minutes of cutscenes coming. It’s how games build the comfy sense of familiarity that keeps us coming back, like hungry little cheese rats on the Sisyphean wheel of simulated progress.
So, when a game pulls something you don’t see coming, it’s usually a nice surprise. Wow, you think. This game has vision. It’s got moxy. It’s really going places, this game, and I want to be there when it does. I am a tiny guppy fish and this game is virtuosic angler, and I am powerless but to dangle on its mastercrafted hook of shocking revelations.
Here is a twist right now: Some games are bad at doing this. The following highly-clickable pages contain 8 games that were smart, right up until they went full dumb with a terrible twist.