While its actual necessity in a video game industry that doesn't revolve around purchasing continues is definitely in question, modern titles still love to tease the player with these two heavy-hitting words:
Indeed, the fear of hitting that horrible screen can have a direct impact on the way we actually play games. With one life left you might become more cagey, considering all your options over and over and only striking when the time is right.
However, as we've detailed many times over, video games absolutely love to mess with players at every given opportunity, and some actually force you to die, lose and otherwise crash and burn in some sections before telling you that this was meant to happen.
Thats' right, no game over for you, it was all part of the plan. Oh, you had a rage-induced heart attack? Well, at least it was memorable.
Side note: I'm not going to cover games like the Batman Arkham Asylum fake-out, or the fake game over screens from the likes of Hitman and Borderlands. Get ready for a deep dive!
8. File Crasher - Gunstar Super Heroes
As we all know, there's nothing scarier than save data corruption, especially when it could mean tens of hours wasted just trying to get back to where you left off.
Therefore it was pretty bloody alarming when in the Japanese version of the game, a warning sign would appear stating that due to complications with the game, you're going to need to complete the next stage in one go or your data would be deleted!
It was a rather official-looking warning as well, even providing a shortcut key combo to reset the game and avoid putting your data at risk. If you were feeling plucky however, you could choose to continue, yet this is basically opening up a pandora's box of panic.
Suddenly the game shows you a falling tombstone-like obstacle with your game data etched into it, and now you need to blast downwards into the stage in order to outrun it.
Adding to the tension is the fact that this thing falls pretty bloody quickly turning an already daunting challenge into a near-impossible one! Therefore it's likely that some players died against this "boss" and lamented at how their data was now lost to the ether! Except it turned out this was just a ruse and the game was merely having a laugh at our expense.
Good one mate, real funny. Expect a therapy bill in the post.