Posted by Zak Wojnar On January - 18 - 2016 0 Comment

Losing sucks. Nobody wants to see the dreaded “game over” screen, and it usually means your character has suffered a painful death by blade, gun, or gunblade. Or zombie bite, bottomless pit, spike pit, or any number of standard videogame hazards.

However, sometimes the circumstances of “game over” are decidedly non-standard, and that’s where PopCultureGalaxy Top 5 comes in. Let’s take a look at some unorthodox “game over” scenarios that really stuck with us and elevated the unfortunate act of failure into a memorable experience all its own.

And keep in mind, there will be spoilers for the games mentioned here, so… Yeah.

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5- Death by Laziness- Final Fantasy VII

“Let’s Mosey”

The opening of Final Fantasy VII is one of the more epic sequences in the entire series; Cloud teams up with a team of terrorist revolutionaries (wonder if they’re gonna tone that down in the remake?) and they attack a government installation, planting a bomb with a ten minute timer and then escaping, at which point the bomb explodes, taking out the Mako reactor and killing countless innocents. In theory, it’s a race against time, but the ten minute timer is so forgiving that one would have to be incredibly slow to run even the smallest risk of going up with the explosion. For the severely impaired or exceedingly unfortunate, however, letting the timer run out does, in fact, result in a game over. Not a spectacular or even different one, but a game over nonetheless. Still, the fact that they bothered to include a working doomsday timer merits inclusion on this list, if only at the top.

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4- Lunar (Crash) Landing- The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

“You’ve met with a terrible fate, haven’t you?”

The polarizing Zelda sequel/spinoff was full of memorable scenarios, but what is always immediately in the minds of players is the dread of inevitable doom; at the end of a three-day time limit (only a couple of hours in real-time), the moon will crash into Termina and kill everybody in the region, if not the whole planet. While our half-pint hero Link can use his magical ocarina to rewind time to the beginning of the three day cycle and attack a different corner of the game, there’s definitely a melancholy element to knowing that all of your good deeds will always have to be undone in order to pursue the greater good and save the world. Of course, you could just let the clock run down… At which point the game screen freaks out, practically begging you to rewind time before the apocalypse rains down like a Nintendo 64 version of Deep Impact.

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3- Take the Money and Run- Batman: Arkham City

“We’re under attack. Joker’s forces are too strong.”

The Batman: Arkham games are, for good reason, beloved pieces of Batman history and historically great videogames on their own merits. Sure, the quality of the writing varies wildly and the female character designs border on pornographic, but when you’re in the zone during a freeflow combat scenario building up a 150x combo and unleashing your inner psychopath while telling yourself that your refusal to commit murder justifies your campaign of terror over Gotham City, the player really gets to “Become the Bat.”

Anyway, at various points in Arkham City’s campaign, the perspective switches from Batman to his reluctant and opportunistic ally, Catwoman, who is given a “Hobsen’s Choice:” The player, as Catwoman, can choose to come to Batman’s rescue, or she can take a bunch of loot and get the hell out of dodge. It seems like a pretty cool time to junction the story into two paths, but the game ends unless she decides to help out Batman. As consolation, though, choosing to steal away with the goodies triggers an incredibly dramatic cutscene in which Oracle sends out an S.O.S. describing the sorry state Gotham has found itself in while Joker’s army lays siege to Wayne Manor. The End. Then the game flashes back to just before Catwoman made her choice, at which point you can make the correct decision and continue the game. Still, one must respect the effort went into that grand game over scenario when they could have just put up a text box saying “sorry pal, gotta save the bat.”

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2- There Are No Continues, My Friend- Metal Gear Solid

By now, what hasn’t been said about Metal Gear Solid? It’s one of the greatest games of all time and it ushered in a whole new world of cinematic production values. The game could be as fun to the player as it could be to anyone who happened to be sharing the couch at the time. Plus, it answered the nagging question: “Can love bloom on a battlefield?”

But that’s not why we’re here. We’re here because at one point, Snake is strapped to some kind of electronic torture device, a bed which can be used to deliver ten million volts of electricity for as long as the torturer wishes. So says torture fanatic/Big Boss fanboy Revolver Ocelot, who goes on to explain that “Once your life reaches zero, the game is over. There are no continues, my friend.” Wait, what? In a series known for breaking the fourth wall for both comedy and drama, this instance really raises the stakes for first time players, because Ocelot is not joking. If you die in this button-mashing sequence, you’re returned to the title screen. If you were unfortunate enough to have not saved in a long time, that’s a lot of backtracking if you want the canon ending. If you submit to Ocelot, Meryl will be dead by the time Snake reaches her at the end of the game. If Snake was able to resist, however, she will survive long enough to ride off into the sunset on a snowmobile… And return for the grand finale of MGS4. So in a way, the non-standard game over isn’t losing the torture and getting booted all the way out to the main menu, but submitting to Ocelot and getting the non-canon ending, can you dig it?

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1- Suicide Seduction MissionĀ  – Mass Effect 2

“My lovers spent their last moments experiencing pleasure you can’t imagine”

Yeah, not that suicide mission. True, if you botch the suicide mission at the end of Mass Effect 2 by neglecting your allies’ loyalty missions and making all the wrong decisions, the mission ends with Shepard and their whole crew dead, an ending which cannot be imported into Mass Effect 3. Well, it’s still a better ending than Synthesis, am I right? You know it’s true.

No, the suicide mission to which I refer is trying to seduce Morinth, the incredibly powerful daughter of the Asari Justicar, Samara. If Shepard chooses to betray Samara and ally with Morinth, then you’ll eventually get the opportunity to showcase your affection in one of Mass Effect’s legendarily awkward love scenes. Unfortunately, Morinth is an Ardat Yakshi, an Asari with a dangerous condition that causes her to murder anyone she makes sweet love to. Should Shepard decide it’s worth it, they’ll quickly realize it’s absolutely NOT worth it.

So, do you agree with our list? Are there other instances of uniquely non-standard game over scenarios we missed? Post your thoughts in the comments below! Or don’t, see what I care.

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