Top 10 Hilarious Game Over Screens in Video Games
VOICE OVER: Dave Thibault
WRITTEN BY: Kurt Hvorup
Just because it's an abrupt end to play doesn't mean it has to be dull and dreary. For this list we're looking at the sudden conclusions to gameplay that most often left folks chuckling and amused. Sometimes it's paying off a looming threat in comedic fashion, sometimes it's basking in a given situation's absurdity, but always the result is a good laugh in the face of failure.
Top 10 Funniest Game Over Screens
Just because it’s an abrupt end to play doesn’t mean it has to be dull and dreary. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Funniest Game Over Screens.
For this list we’re looking at the sudden conclusions to gameplay that most often left folks chuckling and amused. Sometimes it’s paying off a looming threat in comedic fashion, sometimes it’s basking in a given situation’s absurdity, but always the result is a good laugh in the face of failure.
#10: Making Headlines
Straightforward and quaint though this game about a bike-riding paper carrier may seem today, it’s nevertheless remembered with distinct fondness. Normally, failure in “Paperboy” means running out of lives, at which point players face the prospect of being told the titular paperboy simply gave up. However, for those who manage to outright lose the newspaper its subscribers, a comically harsh fate awaits. The end screen will declare that the paperboy was fired. I can’t really say I blame him, have you seen the quality of the writing from The Daily Sun?
#9: Gruntilda Wins
Every once in a while it’s fun to see a villain get exactly what they want. Throughout the game “Banjo & Kazooie” have the looming threat of the image-obsessed witch Gruntilda attempting to sap Tooty, Banjo the Bear’s sister, of her beauty. Should Banjo die during his adventure to save Tooty – or if the player decides to quit before reaching the end – Gruntilda’s scheme comes to fruition. The audience gets to witness as Gruntilda emerges from her transformation chamber looking stunning... while Tooty is drastically mutated. To top it off, Tooty closes out the game with the promise of a not-so-pleasant chat with her brother.
#8: No Spilled Milk
“Conker’s Bad Fur Day” (2001)
Rare sure does love their darkly humourous non-canon endings, huh? Those who have experienced the highly overlooked “Conker’s Bad Fur Day” will know of its playful approach to character death. It’s not all sunshine and roses, though. There are 3 different Game Over cut scenes depending on the red squirrels grisly fate. I like the one in which the cruel Panther King gets his wish: a sturdy table upon which to set his milk, Where Conker is used as the missing table leg. Him wriggling in captivity is the last thing we see before getting booted to the main menu. But something that’s always bugged me, what’s keeping the broken table up in the ending with the missing milk carton version?
#7: Don’t Feed The Bears
“King’s Quest V” (1990)
Sierra always had a knack for colourful depictions of death, yet this one’s an all-time highlight even by their standards. Many times over the course of his quest to save his family in “King Quest V”, King Graham can find himself faced with a sudden and embarrassing demise. The standout, though, comes early on as Graham nears a bee tree south of Serenia. Said tree happens to be guarded by a bear with a rather vicious temperament – OHHHH Right in the Jawline, I don’t think he’s getting up from that. How hard can bears punch anyways, Can someone figure that out?
#6: Otto’s Demise
“Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis” (1992)
Famed adventurer, adversary of the Nazis... and missing in action? “Fate of Atlantis” notably features three distinct routes on which to send Doctor Jones based on preference in playstyle. Those who go along the Fists Path will eventually have to take on various Nazi’s in fistfights. Losing said fight results in a strange turn of events conveyed via text, and a shoutout to the one where Indy’s killer becomes a world famous opera singer. But our favourite one has to be this one with the Nazi Otto, which says: “Otto tried to hurl Indy into a bottomless pit, but tripped and fell in himself. No one knows what happened to Indy.” GG Otto, GG
#5: Styx Insults You
“Styx: Shards of Darkness” (2017)
A good fourth-wall break can cut straight through the tension of play and leave you laughing. As fortunate would have it, this applies to “Shards of Darkness”, a stealth game about a sarcastic goblin and his infiltration of a crucial elven summit. Any time that the titular goblin Styx dies, players are booted to a smoke-filled end screen and promptly subjected to Styx’s masterful brand of shade and shaming. On some occasions he’ll outright insult your abilities or intellect, while other times he opts for clever wordplay in demeaning the player’s habits. No matter what, though, Styx finds a spectacularly twisted balance between brutal honesty and funny commentary.
#4: Midna is Unamused by Wolf Link
“The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess” (2006)
Harsh, hostile, unrelentingly sardonic – just some of the terms we could use to describe the magical Twili creature known as Midna. While she does grow far warmer to the world of Hyrule and its hero Link over the course of “Twilight Princess”, Midna nonetheless retains a sharp edge to her character. This is perhaps best exemplified whenever she’s paired with Wolf Link, the canine form Link unwittingly takes during his adventure. Leap off the wrong ledge or suffer enough injury and Wolf Link perishes, with Midna’s disappointed glare inspiring a mix of amusement and mild guilt.
#3: Cheerful Signoff
“Sega Rally Championship” (1994)
That’s surprisingly nice for what’s otherwise an obvious fail state. People who have gotten the opportunity to experience this playful arcade racing sim will likely have lost at least a race or two in their time. However, rather than a cut to black or a cruel insult, getting a game over in “Sega Rally” treats the player to one of gaming’s most enthusiastic signoffs. We can’t help but chuckle at the idea of an announcer getting really excited about what, to players, might feel like a failed race. Then again, maybe it’s better to go out with cheer rather than pessimism.
#2: Get Dunked On
Let it never be said that “Undertale” doesn’t keep throwing curveballs at its audience right up to the very end. The game’s infamous Genocide Route – so named for how the player is expected to slay every person and monster they encounter – has plenty of unexpected turns in its own right. At the end of the run players are confronted by the once-friendly skeleton Sans, in one of the most brutal and challenging battles in the game. Survive for long enough and Sans leaves himself open to be spared... which he’ll immediately take advantage of to wipe out your health and subsequently gloat about it. Quick as the moment is, it’s hard not to chuckle at Sans’ choice of trash talk.
#1: You Are Dead
“Total Distortion” (1995)
Oft-forgotten amid the many trend-chasing FMV games from the time, this strange music-themed adventure title ought to be better remembered for its more humourous touches. Take the sequences in which you, as a music video producer wandering an alternate dimension, face off against Guitar Warriors. Typically these duels would play out as colour-coded rhythm minigames ending in triumphant besting of the Warriors – unless you get prematurely outplayed and die. At that point the game unleashes its most memetic gag: an entire song about your character’s death, the lyrics going to great lengths to mock and belittle you.