''"YOU embody Jeearr; you are cursed by ten thousand generations of victims; your face adorns the idols. And worst of all, you remain awake and aware, a witness to horror, never sleeping, and never, ever to escape. Your score is -99
of a possible 400, in 805 moves. This puts you in the class of Menace to Society."
In most games, players see the dreaded Game Over
screen when their in-game avatars
are defeated in some way. Maybe they took too many wounds
and lost all their Hit Points
, or maybe they fell down too many Bottomless Pits
and lost all their lives
. They could have failed an objective
or lost a critical NPC
. They might have forgotten to pause the game while reading the walkthrough they pulled from GameFAQs
and the game's timer ran out
— you get the idea. These are all standard failings, usually treated with a simple, default message: "Game Over."
But, there are a few games that give special punishments to particularly noteworthy player screw-ups. These are
non-standard game overs.
There are a few variations on this theme:
This page is about the unusual, context-sensitive methods by which players trigger a Game Over
screen. It doesn't include the times when the game tries to trick you into thinking that the game has ended.
For games where every death is accompanied by a special message, see Have a Nice Death
. For games where every death has a special animation, see The Many Deaths of You
. For games where all bad endings contain extended narrations or demonstrations about the consequences of your actions, see It's a Wonderful Failure
For standard Game Overs that result from an instant-kill attack, see One-Hit Kill
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- Alone In The Dark 1992: The normal Game Over shows a zombie dragging your dead body to the altar of Pregzt, where it shows the text "The End". Nonstandard game-overs occur if you die in or near the final boss room, get eaten by the giant plant guarding the front door, or happen to read "De Vermis Mysteriis", in which case it just says "The End" on the screen where you died.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask has two game over types; the standard death, and the ending that occurs when you let the moon fall on Termina. There's also an extension of the moon falling Game Over: If the guardians are called with the Oath to Order when even one of them isn't free, the free ones' attempt to stop the moon will turn out to be not working, at which point the player gets one minute (real time) left to play the Song of Time to escape. If the player opts to let time run out here, he or she will see a scene where the guardians fall over and the moon continues to fall. Then it continues to the normal scene of this Game Over variant.
- A more obscure Zelda Bad End can be found in The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. As you fight through the last few enemies, Ezlo warns you that Vaati will be done draining the light force out of Zelda (fatally) by the time the bell rings three times. This can happen. The first two rings are scripted, but the bell will ring again if you take too long to beat the Darknuts.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, when you're travelling with a character, a Pirate tank (or ship) may invade your train. When this happens, lots of Miniblins (and later a Big Blin) will try to kidnap your passenger. If they succeed, you can still rescue the character when going to the Pirate Hideout island, so this wouldn't be a big deal. But if that place hasn't been unlocked yet (and it isn't yet by the time you're taking Carben with you), you have no way to rescue the character, and you get an automatic Game Over.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, The Imprisoned triggers this if it manages to arrive at the Sealed Temple before Link can reseal it. The Imprisoned requires Hylia's soul (read: ZELDA'S) in order to reclaim its true form and power, and it's in the temple where he can find it.
- Metroid Prime 3 has one: Stay in Hyper Mode for too long, and you see a cutscene of Samus turning into Dark Samus, followed by a modified death screen (normally, the game over screen has a red splatter appear, presumably blood. If you get this Nonstandard screen, there's this dark blue blotch (Phazon) that grows on the screen, and the words "Terminal Corruption" appear). This outcome can also happen through a different means during the travel to the Very Definitely Final Dungeon: since Samus is already on a near-terminal stage of corruption, her PED Suit vents all of the Phazon out of her body, but at the cost of any further protection, so any Phazon damage will affect a yellow bar that replaces the standard energy meter (and as time passes, the atmosphere of Phazon will slowly fill it up anyway). If this yellow bar completes, Samus will reach total corruption and the Terminal Corruption scene will trigger.
- Metroid: Fusion has exactly three Non-Standard Game Overs, all of which involve a timed mission. The first occurs when the X figure out how to hack the computer and order the engines' boiler to explode; the second when an SA-X discovers and attacks a secret Metroid breeding facility; the third occurs at the very end of the game, when Samus is forced to destroy the entire space station. If you run out of time during any of these timed segments, you will see the same cutscene you'd see if you successfully completed the mission — except that you don't survive. Of course, initiating said cutscenes are Instant-Win Condition type, so you can literally wait until the last possible second.
- Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness,
- If you take too long in Madame Carvier's apartment, the police arrest Lara and the game resets to the title screen.
- Being too much of a Jerkass to Bouchard during your first conversation with him will end with him pulling out a gun and shooting Lara dead on the spot.
- In Tomb Raider (and loyally copied into its remake, Tomb Raider Anniversary), if Lara makes the mistake of touching the magic hand of the Midas statue, she herself turns to solid gold, just painfully slowly enough for her to be able to realize what her mistake has cost her before she actually dies. Many players consider this to be the coolest death of the franchise.
- In Prototype, if you fail a normal mission, MISSION FAILED is displayed on the screen. If you fail the last mission, you see a nuclear bomb destroy Manhattan.
- In The Matrix: Path of Neo, taking the blue pill.
- If you fail most missions in LEGO Island, the Infomaniac will simply tell you so. If you fail to catch the Brickster, though...
- In Mercenary II, also known as Damocles, death is normally a slap on the wrist, since you can use a safe quit option that will resurrect you and teleport to space in a cool ship that you can fly. However, you can activate non-standard Game Overs by:
- failing to prevent the comet Damocles from colliding with the planet Eris (the president of Eris will then insult you)
- destroying Eris instead of Damocles (the president will ask you if you understood the mission)
- destroying one of two other unrelated planets (a newsflash will report the destruction of the planet and inform you that you are now wanted by the police)
- destroying the author's computer, on which the game itself supposedly runs (all planets in the system will explode one by one, and your on-board computer will question your actions, telling you to reset the game. If you do not, your on-board computer will tell you that he is surprised you haven't left yet, informing you that "THERE'S NOTHING LEFT - IT'S ALL GONE - BLOWN UP". That phrase will remain on the screen until you reset the game.)
- The 2003 Bionicle game has three, two of which are in Kopaka's rail-shooter level against the Bohrok.
- First, when you fight against Gahlok, if you take too long to fight him, he will reach the Kini he is heading towards and will proceed to attack it.
- Second, when you fight against Tahnok, if you take too long to fight him, the chase will end with him calling upon multiple Bohrok to beat the ever-loving crap out of you.
- In the game's final level, in Tahu Nuva's racing/rail-shooter level against the Rahkshi, Kurahk. If Kurahk gets to Ta-Koro before you do, it's game over.
- During the final battle in the first God of War, Kratos is hurled back to the moment his family died by his hand, only to find them alive... whereupon Ares conjures up an army of Kratos clones. The family has their own health bar in the following battle; should it run out, a cutscene starts, showing Kratos collapsing in abject despair and sorrow, murmuring, "Not again..." The Kratos clones then gang up and chop him apart.
- During one of the last battles in God of War II, Kratos is hurled back to the moment that he defeated Ares. The boss, Atropos, was going to destroy the giant sword you originally used in the first game to slay the god of war, which would lead to your retroactive death. If you failed to defeat Atropos before she could destroy the sword, you get a cutscene of past Kratos kneeling in defeat and getting stabbed by Ares, which causes present Kratos to wretch in pain and fall over, dead.
- In Dante's Inferno, failing the quick time event with Cleopatra when she starts fondling Dante results in him being seduced and a game over. Which is only natural, seeing as he's in Hell trying to save Beatrice.
- In Paperboy, if you lose all your customers, the game over screen says "Paperboy Fired" instead of the usual "Paperboy Calls It Quits".
- In Contra: Hard Corps, choosing to join Colonel Bahamut in one of the game's alternate routes will show an ending in which Bahamut conquers the world with the player character as his lackey. However, the player will be then taken to the Game Over screen and be asked to continue (if he has any credits left).
- A mission in the later parts of Mafia II has you in a house trying to hide somewhere while hoping not to be seen by a hitman. If you decide to hide in the shower, you will be treated to an extra cutscene of the hitman shooting you through the curtains, and then you get your "You got killed"-screen. Another one will take place if you drive too recklessly while transporting a bomb, resulting in a massive fireball.
- In North America's release of Custom Robo, the protagonist is freely given the option to not go on the final mission near the end of the game. If you decide not to go, the protagonist's partner, Harry, will beseech him — repeatedly — to reconsider. By steadfastly refusing to go, the rest of the team will go without him. The next day, the Big Bad arrives in the city, having killed off the others, and proceeds to destroy everything. And Harry chastises you for letting him die. After an ellipse, the game will return the player to the previous day where Harry insists that they all go.
- In the Sega CD version of Spider-Man vs. the Kingpin, losing to the Kingpin (the final boss) results in a sad ending sequence in which the Kingpin triumphs over the defeated Spider-Man. He then lowers both Spider-Man and Mary Jane into the vat of deadly ooze, after which they are never seen again.
- If you beat the final boss but fail to rescue all the animals in Rolo to the Rescue, the game tells you that it will "remain on your conscience" and "you will never truly be happy again". This is followed by the words "GAME OVER".
- In Contra: Shattered Soldier, completing Stage 5 with too low a rank results in the archipelago being destroyed via Kill Sat, taking the heroes with it.
- In the NES game Cowboy Kid, if the player accepts the bosses' deal to join the Mad Brothers, they will say that Sam became one of the villains who then did bad things and ended up getting hanged by the new sheriff of the town. After this, it shows the words "GAME OVER".
- In the arcade game Magic Sword, choosing to accept the orb which drops when you defeat the final boss makes you the new final boss, with a caption asking who's going to save the world now.
- The Matrix: Path of Neo has one if you take the blue-pill at the start of the game.
- The normal Game Over sequence in King's Quest VI is a very short cutscene in Hades. There are three Nonstandard Game Overs: a Deader Than Dead Game Over (Alexander's skeleton in tattered clothing collapses on a black background), a Baleful Polymorph Game Over ("Was that the beast you could do?"), and another non-deadly Game Over where Alexander gets captured and locked in the castle dungeon right before the wedding ("'Tis a noble thing to have a means of escape, and 'tis a far, far better thing to never get caught at all!")
- Shadowgate: All the myriad deaths cut to a glowing-eyed Reaper against a sunset with the caption, "It's a sad thing that your adventures have ended here!!", except (at least) jumping into a massive chasm, which brings, "The Reaper Man stands below, waiting to catch you" instead. If that doesn't seem scary, you lack the childhood trauma.
- In the original Leisure Suit Larry, if you died by getting run over as soon as the game begins (or in the nearby alley), you're treated to a cut-scene of Larry's corpse being lowered into a laboratory, which then creates a new Larry to be raised to the opening scene for the soon-to-be-restarted game.
- Anything that resulted in a "normal" dead body would trigger this scene. (Interestingly enough, getting killed in an alley would result in one of the techs saying Larry screwed up again, but this never happened anywhere else.) Getting run over wouldn't, as he'd be too, er, sticky to be dumped into the bit bucket.
- More obscurely, if the player took too long to reach the end game, Larry sees the sun rising, and then shoots himself in the head in despair over still being (technically) a virgin.
- Space Quest IV has the option, at one point, to access an in-game computer and "delete" the files for Space Quest IV. Doing so automatically quits the game, with no warning.
- A similar thing happens if you type "cheat" in the second and third installments of Leisure Suit Larry.
- It's also possible to do this in Space Quest 2, although it results in a different ending.
- Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist quits to DOS if you shoot yourself.
- In an Older Than the NES example, many old text adventures (Interactive Fiction) games allow you to easily recover from death (sometimes by simply "walking out" of the afterlife, sometimes with an "undo" command) but have some exceptions where that doesn't work if you really screw up, such as by wiping yourself from existence through Temporal Paradox.
- Example: The original Zork trilogy always cut to a prompt allowing you to "RESTART, RESTORE, or QUIT" upon death. The notable exception was if you died in Zork 3 while using the time machine to travel to the past — the game simply and immediately quit to the system command prompt, due to the historical paradox making your character cease to have ever existed entirely. This becomes particularly jarring for people playing the games on emulators on modern systems.
- The notoriously cruel The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy text adventure also does this if you, as Ford Prefect, negate the events of the game by not saving Arthur Dent from the Earth's destruction in the first place. It is particularly notable for causing chaos and consternation among players by actually quitting the game in MID-SENTENCE.
- Quitting the game became a less acceptable option over time at Infocom, but the Enchanter Trilogy, sequel to the Zork Trilogy, kept up the tradition of having special ways to die. In all three games, it is possible to take actions that not only cause you to fail your mission, but make the world substantially worse off than it was before. Thus, your score displayed at the game over prompt, which normally would be some score taken out of a total (100 out of 400, say) and give you a rank dependent on your score (from "Charlatan" to "Enchanter" to "Sorcerer" to "Archmage"), would instead become a score of -100 and your rank would be "Menace to Society". In the original game, Enchanter, one earned this rank for releasing a powerful Lovecraftian demon upon the land; in the sequel, Sorcerer, one earned this rank for successfully tracking down your demon-possessed mentor and allowing the demon to transfer itself to your far more powerful body; and in the finale, Spellbreaker, it was revealed that the entire plot of the game was a cunning trap and that actually succeeding in your goal would grant you this rank if you didn't see the ruse in time.
- In the computer game version of Frederick Forsyth's The Fourth Protocol (in 1984), you have to uncover a Soviet plot to explode a nuclear bomb near a US Air Force base in Britain, to influence the upcoming British elections and lead to the election of an anti-NATO, anti-American, anti-nuclear, pro-Soviet government. Usually, if you take too long or don't get anywhere with the plot, you get a memo telling you you're being reassigned to The Falkland Islands, until you get far enough. When you find the bomb you have to defuse it, and if you mess it up you are told the plan succeeded: Britain fell to the Soviets, and they started working on Europe from two fronts. But sometimes a different ending appears: the bomb leads to a limited nuclear war, destroying both sides and making the northern hemisphere uninhabitable. This comes "From the annals of the Australio-Indonesian Empire..."
- Failure during the finale of any Quest for Glory installment from Trial by Fire through Dragon Fire will lead not only to the hero's death, but a scene of the resident Sealed Evil in a Can breaking free to lay waste to the world.
- This can happen several times in the second game, Trial by Fire. The main city is beset by four elementals over the course of the story, and three days after they individually show up, if they haven't been defeated, then you get a cutscene of them destroying the city. In addition, the final portion of the game, after the Big Bad gets the sealed evil, but before it is released, any failure or waste of time will result in the above mentioned non-standard game over.
- In the third game, the Fighter must become initiated into the Simbani tribe as part of the plot, and this means competing against your new friend and the chief's son Yesufu at the Initiation Ceremony. The competition includes a number of events, including running, which Yesufu will always automatically beat you at until a pre-scripted moment where he is injured. If you leave him there, the Simbani, who rely on complete trust and cooperation within the tribe to survive in a harsh environment, will be horrified by your selfishness and refuse to initiate you, leading to a game over.
- In Shadow Of Destiny, when you die, you are generally given a couple of hints, and automatically continue; without the option to game over. However, it is possible in at least the first chapter to meet yourself — by coming into contact with yourself, you create a time paradox which erases you from existence. It also fails back to the title screen.
- The Interactive Fiction Game, Anchorhead, has a large number of grisly ways to die, but the character can go insane in true Call of Cthulhu fashion by either fully reading the black tome in the church or by attacking and killing your husband during the game's finale. The character can also suffer "Endless Torment" by being sucked into the womb at any point.
- Return To Zork: In most deaths, a three-note song plays (the notes are from the game's opening theme), an evil guy laughs at you, and a temple screen is shown. However:
- In the very first death of the game (getting attacked by a vulture), a longer song plays.
- In any death relating to water, a different three-note song plays.
- In any death relating to explosions, there is no song and no evil laugh.
- In one death (walking over a pile of leaves and getting sprung in a trap that also turns you upside-down), the temple screen is also upside-down.
- Two final special game overs, related to the Copyright Protection quizzes. One just exits out to DOS normally if you get the questions wrong, but in the other one, later on in the game, you are "blown" back to DOS by a double barrel hunting shotgun.
- Typing "click heels" in the old The Wonderful Wizard of Oz text adventure would lead to a black screen and state that while it did get Dorothy home safely, it leaves her friends fending for themselves, and that Dorothy will spend the rest of her life wondering about the wonders she missed out on.
- In Myst, if you try to enter either the red book or the blue book, the brother inside will keep you trapped inside the book by tearing out all the pages. If you enter the green book without the final page, you're trapped. In the nice ending, you put the white pages into the green book with Atrus in it. Then you get to wander the entire game world as a reward. Other entries in the series also offer multiple endings.
- Normal game overs in Ghost Trick are caused by being unable to save your subject's life before time runs out. However, there are two instances where you can actively cause the subject's death.
- If you recline the seat while the van-driver is driving, he will lose control of the vehicle and crash anyway.
- If you replace the bullet with the hard-hat, rather than the soft knit hat, it will still crash into Cabanela's face and crush his skull (even more brutally than the bullet would have). His ghost isn't very pleased, but it's hilarious to watch.
- Another instance (in the same chapter as the second example) occurs if you try manipulating objects in view of the killer.
- In the video game version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, you play most of the game as King Arthur, but the "Knights in Kombat" mini-game allows you to play as Arthur or the Black Knight. If you play as the Black Knight and win, the game immediately cuts to the Game Over screen.
- the white chamber has a full eight endings. Four are standard Have a Nice Death you get by getting killed before completing the story (end up in outer space, get electrocuted, die from toxic air, or decide to stay in a quarantine bay until you expire). Completing the story nets you an ending depending on how many points you've gained by certain deeds until then: five points nets you the Redemption ending, in which you leave the station. Less, you get the Damned ending in which you have to do everything all over again since you didn't learn. Zero points nets you the Tormented ending, in which you're essentially dumped into HELL. Oh, and scoring six points (difficult unless you go out of your way to do everything right) lands the Comedy ending, which is weird.
- In one of Homestuck's flash "walkarounds" (Return to Core), Karkat specifically tells you not to fall asleep — that doing so would be fatal, given the dream worlds' annihilation. Later on, Nepeta shows you to an Easter Egg room with a bed and lots of treasure chests. Guess what you can do.
- At the end of Beneath a Steel Sky, you can get one either by having Rob voluntarily plug himself into LINC, or waiting until LINC itself grabs him. Rob struggles for a while, then has his mind wiped and replaced with that of LINC.
- All of the endings in the Atlantis series are non-standard, and depend entirely on what wrong choice you made to bring them about.
- In Sword of Shannara if you attack the Warlock Lord instead of the book controlling him, you get a text-only ending where the main character is the new Warlock Lord.
- Trying to enable cheat codes in The Stanley Parable results in Stanley being trapped in "the serious room", leaving the player no choice but to restore or restart.
- The PC game Hell Cab, despite having a three-strikes-and-you're-out life system, has a few instant-death consequences depending on your morals. Early examples include telling Nero you want to throw the ladies to the lions, and choosing to kill your opponent during the gladiator match.
- In Dead Case, shortly before the very last part of the game, the killer runs into the house of the protagonist's fiance, pursued by the ghost of his wife. The dead wife goes to set the house on fire, and the player is given the choice between stopping her and letting her go ahead. The correct option is to stop her (which will lead to the two going inside the house, stopping the killer, and saving the fiance), but letting the ghost burn the house down will result in a game over, informing the player that the fiance died and the killer escaped.
- In the bonus chapter of Nevertales: The Beauty Within failing the test of character results in the main character's husband being crushed to death while she waits fruitlessly forever for his return.
Beat 'em Up
- Fable Heroes normally does not allow the player to lose; even if all Player Characters in the party are killed, they can complete the level as ghosts, receiving fewer resources. The normal end screen shows the party members standing on a championship platform. However, if the game is set to the highest difficulty level and all the PCs die, the game cuts to the same platform but with all of the top 3 spaces occupied by monsters, with the heading "The Creatures Win!"
- In the arcade game Undercover Cops, failing to stop Dr. Crayborn from dropping the atomic bomb on the city will result in a bad ending in which the city is destroyed by the bomb and the three city sweepers are forced to quit their jobs, followed by the Game Over screen.
- In Anarchy Reigns, during the boss fight against the Blacker Baron, once you weaken him to about 25% of his life, you'll be warned of an impending plane crash on your position. After weakening him further, you'll then have about 20 seconds to finish the fight, or else the plane will crash, killing you both and causing a Mission Failure.
- In the arcade version of Street Fighter Alpha 3, losing the final CPU match against M. Bison does not allow you to continue. Instead, you'll get an alternate ending in which M. Bison uses your character's body as an energy source for his Psycho Drive. And if you lose to Ryu playing as M. Bison, it will play Ryu's ending instead.
- Normally, losing a fight in the first Fatal Fury leads to a taunting quote from your opponent and a "Continue?" screen showing your fighter's battered picture. Losing to Geese, the last boss, however, gives you a cutscene where he kicks you off of Geese Tower. The "Continue?" screen likewise shows your character plummeting to his death.
- Given that using a Continue would place you back at the same battle again, one imagines a giant trampoline placed directly under the window...
- In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, you can watch a unique ending sequence if you lose to the final boss and opt not to continue. In Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, said ending became unlockable by beating the newly added Galactus Mode.
- In Bushido Blade, you must fight your opponents honorably in Story mode. Use dishonorable tactics and the game abruptly ends after a certain point, with a usually random message berating you, such as "None are more contemptible than those who defile the way of the Bushido."
- In Tekken 5, if you lose to Jinpachi and let the "Continue" timer run out, you'll get an extended Game Over. Instead of just a plain "Game Over" appearing, a cutscene plays first. Jinpachi laments that no one was able to stop him, cries Tears of Blood, and goes One-Winged Angel one last time before rocketing himself into the sky. The screen fades to black, and a message comes up saying "Jinpachi's mind is consumed by the devil as he reaches his final transformation. The world will never be the same."
- In the Arcana Heart series, should you time out during the final boss battles, the bad endings show either the Elemental World and human world merging in the first game or Japan getting destroyed by Ragnarok in the third.
First Person Shooter
- In Time Shift, if you block or otherwise interfere with certain movable objects while using your Time Reversal power, you get a non-standard Game Over due to Time Paradox.
- System Shock's normal game over is you serving SHODAN well, as a cyborg. You get a non-standard game over when you fire the mining laser into Earth. The game ends with a frantic Cyberspace battle where the player crashes an AI who in turn hacks the player's mind. The latter is represented by a storm of pixels slowly filling the screen. If the AI wins, the pixels fill the screen to form a picture of her empty, emotionless, Gigeresque face.
- If you die in Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, you will usually just watch Kyle die in a slow motion sequence. However on one level, you are required to be stealthy. If an enemy raises the alarm, you will see a cutscene of Kyle in prison just before being tortured.
- America's Army:
- If you shoot an instructor, the screen goes black and then transports your character to a prison cell in Leavenworth.
- If you shoot people on your own team too many times in online play, the game will kick you out of the server and give you the Leavenworth scene as well.
- Half-Life has several of these, usually taking the form of a black screen with white text:
- When using the teleporter "gun" in Opposing Force, there are places where you can translocate into nothingness, giving you an unusual Game Over screen.
- And if you try to chase Freeman to Xen, you will lose due to creating a Temporal Paradox.
- And similar to the America's Army example above, you can attack/kill an instructor during the tutorial and get yourself court-martialed.
- In the Opposing Force Chapter "Friendly Fire", you can damage the rocket the nuke that will eventually blow up Black Mesa came in, to the point where it explodes!
- Similar to the Opposing Force tutorial example mentioned above, this can also occur at the start of Blue Shift before you officially report for duty. You're given a pistol at the practice-firing range, loads of comrade security guards are around, no need to guess what happens if you decide to shoot someone.
- Refusing the G-Man's offer at the end of Half-Life might be a case of this, or a case of Multiple Endings. He expresses his regrets, and then it's not pretty.
- There's also a much earlier Half-Life nonstandard game over during the Questionable Ethics level where you got to bring 1 of the 3 hiding scientists to the eye scanner to unlock the front door of the building. If you decide to kill all 3 of the scientists, get them killed by the malfunctioning surgery saws, or otherwise let them die before the door is unlocked, you end up trapping yourself. The game will then fade out like the G-Man endings after the last remaining scientist dies.
- In Half-Life 2, crashing a vehicle into a location that the player will not be able to recover will result in you getting terminated for "failure to preserve mission-critical resources".
- Jumping off the cliffs on Highway 17 will fade to black with the note that you "demonstrated exceedingly poor judgement".
- In Episode Two, the G-man's endgame reports have been replaced with Vortessent messages, the most amusing of which comments that "the Magnusson's misgivings about the Freeman were completely justified" if the player fails to protect the base.
- In Red Faction, if Griffin dies, you will get a special message saying "Your failure to protect Griffin doomed the rebellion, etc'', followed by just "Game Over" instead of "You Have Died". A similar thing happens if Capek kills Eos during his boss battle.
- In Red Faction: Guerilla. if you kill your brother during the tutorial, the Game Over screen will appear, saying "WTF, you killed your Brother!!!". Yes, with that wording.
- In Tron 2.0, if you kill any non-hostile and/or "Civilian" Programs (like Ma3a, Byte, or any character that you can talk to), you hear a voice say "Illegal program termination." Five seconds later, you get a screen with the same message.
- If Ma3a is killed during her Protection Missions or a stray shot takes out Alan when you're running your Escort Mission with him in the latter part of the game, the message is "You failed to protect Ma3a / your father." Ma3a proves difficult to defend; Alan (being possibly the most rational character in that universe) has the good sense to duck when the discs start flying.
- In the final mission of Target Terror, if you directly shoot the final terrorist instead of the Dead Man Switch he's holding, the plane blows up. If you run out of lives during the "no continues" part of the mission, the plane is shown crashing into the White House.
- Call of Duty: "You are a traitor to the motherland!" if you kill a Commissar in the Russian campaign, "Friendly fire will not be tolerated", if you shoot a friendly elsewhere, or "You were killed by a grenade, exploding vehicle, lethal pocket of radiation, etc."
- If you fail the helicopter jump in Modern Warfare, you get "Nobody makes their first Jump...". If you miss your shot in the flashback level "One Shot, One Kill", "Zakhaev escaped unharmed".
- In Modern Warfare 2, in the early mission "Team Player", if the player chooses to run in on foot rather than go into the convoy, you are promptly taken down by sniper fire with the notice "It would probably be safer to ride in the convoy."
- Failing to move past certain events in recent installments will replace the quotes with whatever you are supposed to do. One is reminded to "Hold on for dear life" after falling to death while ice climbing.
- Dying to an attack dog in Modern Warfare or a Banzai charger in World at War has the game tell you when to press the melee button/key to save yourself.
- In Call of Duty 2, there are two instances, one in "Red Army Training", and one (appropriately enough) in "Prisoners of War", where the game will display the message "Killing prisoners of war will not be tolerated" if the player attacks captured German soldiers.
- Operation Wolf: Aside from "sustaining a lethal injury", the game will also end if you run out of bullets and grenades ("Since you have no ammunition left, you must join the hostages."). Strangely enough, you still have to run out of health before that happens.
- In the Xbox 360 version of the otherwise unremarkable FPS Secret Service, shooting the President results in a game over... And unlocks a zero gamerscore achievement entitled 'The Exact Opposite Of Your Job'.
- In Halo, if Captain Keyes dies, the camera cuts to him falling, and Cortana says "No! Without the Captain, the Covenant have already won". If you run out of time during the Escape Sequence, the game displays a cutscene of the Autumn exploding with you still onboard.
- Typically one can friendly fire your fellow marines and still complete the level even if they turn on you and try to kill you. The ONE exception to this is if you kill one of the bridge crew on the first level, Pillar Of Autumn. Doing this causes the room exit to be locked and infinite marines to spawn. You can't complete the level and you WILL die eventually.
- In Rise of the Triad, it is possible to die in the explosion when you defeat a boss. If that happens, you are given the standard Game Over screen, no matter how many lives you have left.
- In the first Stealth-Based Mission of Soldier of Fortune II, if a guard spots you, Dr. Ivanovich is immediately captured and you get a slightly different Game Over screen. In the level where you are escorting a team of soldiers, disobeying orders or accidentally shooting one of them results in them executing you on the spot.
- The first Soldier of Fortune had a number of these for failed mission objectives, such as running out of time to stop the missile launch in Siberia.
- In the original Time Crisis, running out of time caused an instant game over, unlike the sequels.
- Left 4 Dead has a non-standard game over in the finale of The Sacrifice. There has to be a minimum of 2 survivors alive to perform the sacrifice; one survivor has to jump off the bridge and restart the generator to get the bridge up and the other survivor has to be on the bridge to get away from the zombies once it is raised. If 3 survivors are killed or are incapacitated on the bridge and the survivor sacrificing themselves is off the bridge, it counts as a failure and you will have to redo the finale. This is coming from a game where the only way to lose is everyone dying.
- Quake IV has a Nonstandard Game Over that can be activated at two distinct points, both of those points happening when an ally you're supposed to protect is killed.
- Usually in SWAT 3 and SWAT 4, failing objectives does not end the entire mission in failure, with Mission Control instead asking if you want to continue and try to salvage what you can of the mission. A few missions, however, have objectives that, if failed, result in an immediate game over (i.e., letting the plane take off in SWAT 3's "Rapid Deployment, Airport" mission), complete with an FMV showing what happens afterwards.
- In Return to Castle Wolfenstein, in the Rocket Base mission, there is a German operator counting down the time left before the rocket you have to destroy will take off. If you fail to destroy the rocket in time, the game will fade to black as the rocket takes off and you will have to start again.
- In the Marathon game mod Gemini Station, if you kill Jack Melville in the penultimate level, you are charged with his murder and sent to an Oubliette, where the only way out is suicide by crushing trap.
- RPG eroge made by Eushully tend to have this. Even losing in battles that should be somewhat easy will result in a slightly extended ending. For example, losing against an assassin in Reiki has the main character talk with said assassin before going to the game over screen.
- Typical H-Game fandom has a GOR (Game Over Rape) subgenre, which is all about this trope.
- This is typically averted in Corruption Of Champions, where no matter how badly you've gotten your ass kicked by an enemy you are guaranteed to "come to your senses in 8 hours, missing some gems". Most players die their first time by abusing transformation items which if used too much can leave you as a wild horse or a mindless puddle of slime to name a couple, though it is actually possible to get a Game Over by losing to enemies during specific scenarios.
- In World of Warcraft, a Total Party Kill during the Madness of Deathwing encounter will result in him activating the titular ability "Cataclysm". Doing so causes the entire screen to temporarily go black as he just destroyed the planet.
- The same thing used to happen if the countdown ran out for Algalon the Raid Destroyer, for the same reason.
- In EVE Online, getting your ship destroyed or running out of scan probes in wormhole space after the wormhole you use to get there collapses results in you becoming stranded in an unknown solar system. It's not technically a 'game over' since you can hire other pilots to come find and rescue you, but if nobody does, it is.
- In Getter Love!!, the game normally ends when you or one of your opponents declares your love to one of the girls. If someone other than you wins the game, you're treated to a word from everyone involved, and that's it. If two game-weeks pass by and no one wins, you'll be treated to a scene where Reika, fucking, MARRIES YOU, as her equally butt-ugly family attends her wedding ceremony.
- Kirby 64 The Crystal Shards has a Boss Rush mini-game. When you lose all your lives, you fall down one last time as if there's a hole. And instead of "Try Again" and "Quit", you get "Accept Defeat".
- Conkers Bad Fur Day involves a fabled Panther King seeking a red squirrel with which to replace his broken table leg, so as to prevent him from spilling his milk on said table. The standard game over has Conker, the protagonist, tied and gagged to the king's table leg. Depending on the circumstances of the player's death, the game's nonstandard endings include the Panther King's minions turning Conker in as either a bag of soggy squirrel (drowning or otherwise dying underwater), bloodied chunks (gibbed), or black char (burned or electrocuted), or just a shot of Conker's Face on a Milk Carton (falling down a bottomless pit). In the final stage of the game (after the Panther King dies), they do away with the cutscene entirely, only showing you "GAME OVER" on a black screen.
- In the first two Banjo-Kazooie games, as well as Donkey Kong 64, just quitting the game triggers a Game Over banner, as if the developers of the games (Rare) wanted the player to beat the whole campaigns in one session. In both DK64 and the first BK, the Game Over includes a scene showing the potential outcome that would result if the protagonists failed to twart the plans of the villains; like in Conker's Bad Fur Day, however, once the player gets past the foil of the evil plans, and all that remains is the final battle, no scene is shown, as the game just puts the Game Over banner before returning to the title screen (this is also true for the entirety of Banjo-Tooie, which doesn't have any Game Over cutscenes whatsoever).
- In Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, normally Richter dies in a Rain of Blood (being the first Castlevania protagonist to suffer this), but getting ambushed by a living portrait ends up with Richter being trapped in a picture within the picture — which the figure in the portrait proceeds to tear up. It's the only unique death animation in the game. That said, this isn't really a Game Over (unless you were on your last life).
- In Kya Dark Lineage, standard Game Overs show a screen saying "Game Over". However, near the game's end, if you're hit by traitor Aton's Wolfen Gun, you can see a sequence where Kya slowly transforms into a scary, female Wolfen. And that's The End.
- Rayman 2 has exactly one of these. There's a quest in which you have to locate a healing elixir in the Cave of Bad Dreams. After completing the cave's obstacle course, you are offered massive sums of cash. If you accept this, you will find yourself sitting on a luxury yacht with a pile of cash the size of a small building. The implication is that Rayman lets his greed get the best of him and decides to simply let the pirates enslave everybody while he lies around enjoying his money. The game snaps you back immediately instead of ending the game though, and will cycle through until you pick the right option. In the myriad of rereleases, the choice is removed entirely.
- Cave Story:
- After the standard Critical Existence Failure, the gameover screen reads "You have died. Would you like to try again?" If your Oxygen Meter runs out underwater, the screen changes to "You have drowned." If you fall into either of the two Bottomless Pits in the game, it reads "You were never seen again..."
- The worst of the game's Multiple Endings borders on a non-standard game over. Notably, the music that plays ("Hero's End") is different from that in the better endings ("The Way Back Home"), and this is the only ending that lacks the ending credits.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog CD, waiting idle for 3 minutes will cause Sonic to lose his patience with you, and with an "I'm outta here!", leave the game, giving you a Game Over.
- In SegaSonic the Hedgehog, failing to escape from Eggman's Tower in time will cause a Game Over with no option to continue.
- Plenty of 'em in I Wanna Be the Guy.
- Inverted in The New Zealand Story. If, after clearing World 1, you lose your last life by getting hit by an arrow (or similar) attack, instead of the standard game over screen, you instead go to "heaven", and have a chance to escape in order to continue the game. If you make it to the end of this "hidden" stage, however, the game ends for real. You have to find a hidden exit in order to get out of this "nonstandard" game over. Escape and you have one last chance. Lose that, and you're taken to Hell for another Nonstandard Game Over.
- In Drawn to Life, you can choose not to help the Raposas. Mari, the only one hearing from "you" at that point, loses hope, and the game ends.
- In Mega Man Legends 2, if you mess up during the time you're defending Nino island from the Birdbots and they blow through the gate, the scene switches to the Guildmaster going nuts and hitting the self-destruct button, blowing up the island and everything in it.
- In Mario's Time Machine, if you either lose all of your lives or run out of time rescuing all of the artifacts from Bowser, then the game will show a cutscene where Bowser successfully activates his time machine and escapes to a tropical island. If you rescue all of the artifacts but get them back in the wrong time period, then Bowser's time machine will overload, and as a result he is sent back to the Cretaceous period all dazed and confused-looking. If you get everything right, then Bowser's time machine will still overload, and as a result he is sent back to the Cretaceous again, only to be crushed to death by a giant dinosaur foot.
- In the second episode (game) of Commander Keen, there are Tantalus Ray Cannons you must destroy in order to save Earth. There are eight of them, but if you press a switch on the side of any of them, a Tantalus Ray shot will destroy the planet and your game is over instantly.
- The classic Sonic the Hedgehog fan game Sonic Robo-Blast had a stage set in a volcano that would erupt in five minutes, real time. The eruption was an instant Game Over, ignoring lives.
- Running out of time on the Dam level in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles immediately ends the game, no matter how many turtles you have left.
- In the arcade game Elevator Action II (Elevator Action Returns in Japan), if you run out of time near the end of the final stage (the nuclear missile silo), the missile will be launched and a picture of an erupting mushroom butt is shown, followed by a message on the computer screen that says "YOUR MISSION IS OVER".
- In The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants, losing your last life in the final level rewards you with a look at the aliens' ultimate weapon: an army of Homer Simpson clones.
- The Japan-only PSX platformer The Adventure of Little Ralph punishes players for leaving Ralph idling too long by making stars fall from the top of the screen, inevitably hitting and killing Ralph.
- In the Oddworld series, there are horrible consequences if you fail to complete the in-game tasks to a high enough standard. In Abe's Oddysee, if you fail to save over 50 Mudokons, Abe will be sliced and diced through a meat saw in Rupture Farms. In Abe's Exoddus, again, failing to save enough Mudokons, will leave Abe in the hands of the Brewmaster, who will strap him down and pass electricity through his body to extract his tears. Eventually, the electricity gets turned up too high and he will be electrocuted. In Munch's Oddysee, failing to obtain a certain level of Quarma will leave both Munch and Abe to be mauled by Fuzzles, who also alert the Vykkers as to their whereabouts. Abe will be killed and his head hung on a wall. Munch has an even worse fate. He is strapped down, while his lungs are forcibly removed while he is still fully conscious so that they can be given to the ailing Glukkon queen.
- Like the aforementioned Rebel Assault and Rogue Leader examples, the Famicom Star Wars game had a cutscene of the Death Star destroying Yavin IV if you ran out of lives on the last level.
- One question in The Impossible Quiz 2 asks "Click Yes to exit." Clicking "Yes" will take you back to the title screen, without the Game Over screen.
- In the computer version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire??, if, on the fastest finger portion of the game, no one gets it right after several attempts, Regis Philbin comes on, mocks you for being stupid, and says "That's it, I'm out of here." Then the game quits.
- This also happens as early as the name entry screen. If you don't enter a name, or enter one but don't submit it, Regis will make a comment once every few seconds, growing increasingly impatient each time, before he finally throws in the towel and quits the game for you.
- Similarly, in almost all You Don't Know Jack games, the following will happen when the contestants respond with "fuck you" on Gibberish Questions three times in a single game: the first time, you lose a very large sum of money, and depending on the mood, the host will take even more and possibly even rename you into something insulting. The second time, nothing happens to the score because he doesn't find it funny or creative enough to warrant the punishment a second time. The third time, he just gives up and closes the game, and he'll make it known you can't pause or press a key to get out of this if you tried.
- Antichamber: Killing yourself in-game (namely by crushing yourself with blocks) will crash the game engine.
Real Time Strategy
- Rise of Nations has two kinds of Game Over: the normal defeat, when your opponent simply wins, and the Armageddon defeat, which happens if you drop too many nukes, and basically means everybody loses. Similarly, the Cold War campaign has two Game Overs: the normal defeat, where the opposing side wins, and the Nuclear Holocaust ending, where everybody fires Mnogo Nukes.
- So does Theatre Europe. Notably, you can't win as Warsaw Pact under the hardest difficulty, as NATO will, as a desperate measure, launch a major nuclear attack against you, leading to an End of the World as We Know It.note (Conversely, when playing as NATO, your goal is to defend yourself for a requisite number of turns; if you ever enter the Warsaw Pact territory, the enemy will start a global nuclear war. You can also trigger it deliberately, or by provoking the enemy by launching one too many nuclear missiles against them.)
- The old MS-DOS Real-Time Strategy game Command HQ features a nonstandard game over by nuclear winter. Normally, allowing your capital to be overrun results in the status bar stating "We captured the enemy's capital!" or "The enemy captured our capital!", along with a catchy tune and a bit of flashing. However, if you use too many nuclear strikes in a scenario, it exits straight to DOS with the message "SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDI" (Latin for "Thus passes the glory of the world.")
- Failing the storyline stage battles in Brutal Legend leads to a Type A cutscene where they gloat over you.
- In The Groove has a slightly different Game Over screen for its hardest song, "Pandemonium." After the usual "LIFE DEPLETED/ROUND FAILED" screens, a skull appears afterwards.
- In The Groove 2 features something similar if you fail "Vertex^2," you get the usual "LIFE DEPLETED/ROUND FAILED" screens, and then a power of two pops up next to "FAILED," turning it into "ROUND FAILED^2."
- Rhythm Heaven (GBA/AC) and Rhythm Heaven Fever offer two ways to fail "Night Walk": Either fail to hit enough notes, which is the "standard" way, or fall into a Bottomless Pit.
You fell in a hole.
- Reflec Beat typically lets the current song run to the end, unless you are playing the iOS port, in which you can pause the game and quit or restart the current song. However, in Reflec Beat colette -All Seasons-, the Pastel Wonder Traveler event puts you on a Life Meter, which decreases whenever you get a Good or a Miss. If your HP hits zero, the song ends immediately in failure.
- Normally, a Game Over in beatmania IIDX results from finishing a song with less than 80% Groove Gauge. However, if you miss 50 notes in a row, or have one of several different "survival" gauges and that gauge hits 0%, the "STAGE FAILED" screen will pop up and the song will immediately end.
- Rogue: "R.I.P.: Software Pirate. Killed by Copy Protection Mafia.", if you die while playing an illegal copy.
- In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, you can actually refuse to come back to the Pokémon world after your partner makes it possible with a wish. This results in being sent back to the main menu after a brief narration that you never returned and were missed terribly by your friends, and upon loading your save, the game will treat it as though you had been defeated in the dungeon prior to the event.
- FTL: Faster Than Light:
Role Playing Game
Shoot 'em Up
- Sega's 1981 Astro Blaster can have you lose the entire game if you crash into the mothership during the docking sequence at the end of every level.
- Space Invaders: Perhaps one of the earliest video game examples; allowing even one of the eponymous alien ships to reach the bottom of the playfield results in an instant game over, no matter how many lives you have left.
- Retained in Return of the Invaders but averted in Super Space Invaders '91 because of the difficulty of the differing formations in each wave: you simply die and the playfield is reset, minus any Invaders you destroyed previously.
- In the Strike series of Helicopter games, simply getting yourself blown up would earn a normal game over. Failing a mission or otherwise rendering the level Unwinnable, however, would result in your being recalled to base for a dressing-down from your commanding officer which changed according to what you did wrong. (From Jungle Strike's first level, if you tried some Monumental Damage of your own: "You redecorated the White House, Beruit style!")
- In Nuclear Strike, it is possible to have a nonstandard game over piled on top of a nonstandard game over. If you tried to refuel thrice after being told to return to base because of a SNAFU, General Earle orders your (literal) termination for going rogue.
- In Hellsinker, if you time out Rex Cavalier and only have one life left, you get a very strange sequence referred to as the "spirit overload" ending. The boss, with its last remaining bits of energy, downloads its memories into the character's mind and drives them insane. Over time, the game over text implies, your (human) character is reshaped into an utterly inhuman Prayer.
YOU GOT INSANITY.
YOU MUST RESHAPE ONESELF FOR ONCOMING ASPIRANTS.
- In Devastators, not only does this happen if you run out of time, but it actually tells you straight out before each mission:
"IF YOU FAIL TO COMPLETE,/YOU WILL PERISH!"
- In Star Control II: The Ur-Quan Masters, the Ur-Quan, being the reasonable people they are, will allow you to surrender to them and offer to spare the lives of your crew in exchange. They're not going to let you live, of course, and even if they did, you wouldn't have your plot-necessary Cool Spaceship anymore, so if you accept, the conversation cuts directly to a Game Over screen. Still, quite a magnanimous offer considering that everyone on your ship is currently engaged in fully voluntary rebellion.
- The game has a time limit, in that eventually the Ur-Quan Kohr-Ah who have an agenda of total genocide will triumph over the green Ur-Quan and begin moving to exterminate all sentient life in the galaxy. You can monitor their progress on the galactic map as they move from species to species. Eventually, they will head for Earth, and if they arrive before you eliminate their flagship and halt their advance, the population of Earth is eradicated and it's game over.
- Star Control III can end abruptly if you allow the Eternal Ones to feed on the galaxy without improving their process to be survivable to the natives. You also get a game over if you're too trusting of the Orz, Arilou, or Ploxis, or commit enough war crimes (or bad enough war crimes) to be fired from your leadership position.
- Running out of lives on the last mission of Star Wars: Rebel Assault results in a cutscene of the Death Star destroying Yavin IV, with the narrator announcing "The alliance was defeated".
- In the Neo Geo arcade Shoot 'em Up NAM-1975, should you lose to the final boss, Dr. R. Muckly, he will be heard boasting that the world is now his, and the world is then shown exploding. He is then heard laughing evilly and it cuts to the Game Over screen.
- Einhänder, Stage 6: Fail to destroy the space shuttle's thrusters in time and your craft plummets to earth, where it is immediately set upon by German forces. The game ends here even if you have extra lives remaining.
- Galaga: You can get your ship captured by an enemy, then shoot down said enemy to obtain the double ship. However, if the captured ship is your last ship, the game will end instead, as if you had been shot down.
- Confidential Mission: If you and your CPU partner—or the other player in a two-player game—don't both lock the Kill Sat onto the submarine and then fire, the Big Bad gets away and the island that you're on blows up. Part Downer Ending, part Game Over since the "MISSION INCOMPLETE" screen shows up.
- There are three non-standard Game Overs in Harvest Moon DS and two or three in Harvest Moon DS Cute.
- The first is during the opening sequence, when Mayor Thomas from Mineral Town annoys your character into attacking him. The dog will then become angry. You'll have the option to call your dog back. If you refuse, the screen will fade to red, likely signifying that your dog has killed the mayor. The credits roll, and you're taken back to the title screen.
- This next one takes a very long time to get...you have to grow a Level 100 Toadstool, then submit it at the Harvest Festival. The entire town (including you) will grow sick and die. The credits roll, and you're taken back to the title screen.
- If you turn on HMDS with Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town in the GBA slot (or HMDSC with Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town), villagers from Mineral Town will start to visit Forget-Me-Not Valley. You only have to do this once to make them keep coming back forever. The Mineral Town girls in DS are marriage candidates... but marrying any of them will take you back to the title screen and revert back to your last save file. This is changed in DS Cute, though, allowing you to continue the game with a Mineral Town husband.
- In the English version of Magical Melody, marrying your rival, Jamie, will cause the game to end.
- Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town and Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town have this as well. If you choose not to inherit the farm after the mayor asks you, the mayor will be sad and the ending credits will roll.
- In the Wonderful Life subseries, your game ends if you are not married by the end of the first year. In later chapters, allowing your farm and shipment levels to fall by the wayside can cause your wife to leave you. In the PS2 special edition, you can end the game in the first cutscene by simply telling Takakura you don't want the farm.
- In Wing Commander, if the Tiger's Claw is destroyed, you get a message saying "With your carrier destroyed, you drift endlessly through the void..."
- In Wing Commander IV, if you repeatedly screw up your early missions, say, by immediately ejecting on launch for every mission you get, Tolwyn hands you your pink slip in a hysterically dark cut scene.
- In Wing Commander III, screwing up critical missions results in the fleet jumping back to Proxima and then making a Last Stand at Sol. This mission is unwinnable even with godmode, and drops you into another cutscene where you can decide how you die. This is quite possibly the Nonstandard Game Over that's drawn out the longest. If it is possible to save before the mission, pray you didn't save it over your previous save game.
- In the final mission of Ace Combat 5, if you fail to destroy the SOLG (loaded with a nuke) in time, you're treated to a short cutscene of it detonating over Oured.
- Likewise, if you don't destroy the last missile in the Megalith mission in "Ace Combat 04", you get to see that very missile launch from its silo and win the war for Erusea.
- Trauma Center: Under the Knife and Second Opinion, Episode 4: Fail the bomb "operation" and instead of a depressing Game Over in which Derek quits his job, you hear an explosion as the screen simply goes white.
- New Blood, Episode 5: Run out of time on the lock-picking mission, and instead of "Your skills were not up to the task — Operation Failed", you hear the sound of water filling up as the screen fades to white.
- Trauma Team also gets one. If you fail on Naomi's final case, instead of the normal message/suicide note, you get a recording of Rosalia talking about Albert and the Rosalia Virus.
- In the Star Wars: Rogue Squadron series, failing a critical mission objective will cause the mission to end (even if you are still intact), followed by a "MISSION FAILED" screen (instead of "GAME OVER") with a description of what triggered mission failure.
- Also, if you shoot down allies/convoys/things you're supposed to be protecting you get a warning or two - "Skywalker, what are you doing?!" — and then Rieekan calls you back with "Commander Skywalker, return to base. We'll discuss your... tactics... in private."
- In Rogue Leader, it's possible to get a unique game over by running out of torpedoes in the attack on the Death Star. Cue Yavin IV getting blown the hell up.
- In the 1985 game Balance of Power, pushing too hard in international negotiations would result in an immediate end to the game, with a black screen displaying the message: "You have ignited a nuclear war. And no, there is no animated display of a mushroom butt with parts of bodies flying through the air. We do not reward failure."
- This is arguably not non-standard, as it's part of the game's main gameplay mechanic. However, it is possible to apparently win a negotiation and get the same message, but with the text changed to "an accidental nuclear war".
- In F/A-18 Hornet, if you land or eject in enemy territory, you get captured and are listed as "Missing in Action". If you cause any collateral damage, you are "Court Martialed".
- In X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, if you fail at a mission (rather than just dying, ejecting, or hyperspacing out of there before the mission's done), you'll be treated to some tragic music. Depending on how well you did, you might be the sole survivor, or your enemy might curb stomp you.
- The Oregon Trail II: "You're Fired!" (kicked out of the wagon train), if you're a trail guide and morale gets too low.
- Super Bases Loaded for the SNES. In this particular sports game, you end up getting the Non-Standard Game Over screen, should the CPU completely blow you out by getting 9 runs straight. It will not even wait for you to make it to 9 innings. Instead, it will briefly freeze, then show someone from your team kneeling in defeat, with the word "Blowout" over their head, with some sad music. From there, it will go to the scoreboard, and the words "Blowout Game" will appear. From there, it will promptly go back to the title screen. And you get NO Continues in 1P mode. So, if you make it far, and this happens to you, you can initiate controller chucking rage mode. (This to my knowledge, has not been tested in 2P mode. To ensure that you end up seeing the above, simply pick any of the final remaining 4 teams, and this happens eventually...)
- Baseball Stars uses a similar "mercy rule", ending the game if either team is ahead by ten or more runs at any point. So did Sega's Sports Talk Baseball for the Genesis. It was explicitly called a "10-run Rule", and the talking commentator would say the team won "by domination".
- Mario Superstar Baseball and Mario Super Sluggers have a rule (which can be disabled in normal games, but is always active in story mode) where being 10 runs ahead at the end of an inning ends the game; however, if the visiting team is 10 runs ahead in the top of the inning, the home team still gets the bottom of the inning to even the score before it kicks in.
- In Blitz: The League 2, getting Franchise injured in Prison Ball will end the game, as you have ruined your career. Unlike in other modes of the game, Prison Ball will not let you perform triage if an injury occurs.
- In Splinter Cell: Double Agent, if you fail the final minigame-for-a-boss, you are treated to a very disturbingly realistic portrayal of emergency services and news helicopters flying over Manhattan as a smoking ruin after a nuclear blast.
- And in the first Splinter Cell game, you are on a training facility, and at a certain point you get a gun. If you turn back and kill an officer, you get fired. You also get fired if you attack Grimsdottir in the beginning of the level. Same for any level with friendlies or other NPC's you are required to keep alive.
- The original Metal Gear Solid used the Nonstandard Game Over as a plot device on one occasion, being told before a possibly-fatal Minigame that "there are no continues, my friend...". And, of course, dying results in a Non-Standard Game Over screen — with no CONTINUE option. A player would have to quit the game and reload before they could try again...
- The game can go even further to psych out the player here. If you haven't saved in a while, the game will detect this and call you out on it. "Do you really want to lose all of your progress?"
- In Metal Gear Solid 2, during the Tanker chapter, if Snake gets caught sneaking around during the Commandant's speech, the player is shown the soldiers in the Tanker taking Snake into custody before "Game Over" is displayed.
- Metal Gear Solid 3 is actually a prequel to Metal Gear Solid 1 and Metal Gear Solid 2. In MGS3, you meet a boss that also appears in MGS1. You're supposed to simply knock-out that boss in MGS3, but if you decide to kill him instead, you'll have Colonel Campbell, from the 'future', shout "Snake, what have you done? You changed the future! You've created a time paradox!", and the words "OCELOT IS DEAD" will appear, instead of the usual game over text. There are other characters that appear in later games that you can't kill or you'll create a time paradox.
- In the same game, there's this quote if you get this game over: "Snake, you can't do that! The future will be changed! You'll create a time paradox!" Also: "You've created a time paradox! Snake, you can't go changing the future like that!" Furthermore: "Snake! You've created a time paradox! The future must not be changed! You must know the future!!!"
- Of course, since MGS3 is the prequel, with Naked Snake being Big Boss, or the father of Solid Snake, the normal Game Over screen will slowly evolve from the words "Snake is Dead" to "Time Paradox", if left alone long enough. In addition, if the Fake Death Pill is used, and the words change completely to "Time Paradox", then Snake dies for real, fake death or not.
- There's a few cases in Metal Gear Solid and its sequel, in particular, where you get a wildly different Informal Eulogy depending on the circumstances. Crash into the tripwires surrounding Baker, and Ocelot will call you an idiot/fool depending on if you're playing the remake or not. Fail the torture, and not only will your CONTINUE option be missing, but you'll get to hear Liquid yell at Ocelot for getting carried away. Die during the final battle in Metal Gear Solid 2 after your "support" team has dropped their façade, and they'll laugh at your failure.
- In Metal Gear Solid 4, die during the final battle & you will be given the choice to "Continue" or "Exist". Choose the latter, and you will hear Ocelot tell you "It's not over yet, Snake!" and you will have to choose again, only "Exist" will have returned to the traditional "Exit".
- Gurlugon. Possibly the most bizarre game over sequence in the entire series.
- Rather than Snake dying, there are other ways you can get a Game Over. If, for example, you kill Johnny, Otacon will shout "Snake, what did you just do? Have you lost your mind?!", and as soon as the Game Over screen appears, Otacon says "Oh no! What are we going to do now, Snake?"
- Batman: Arkham Asylum has quite a few of these. If you let Zsasz see you when he has the guard in the electric chair, true to his word, he electrocutes him. If Batman is in Joker Venom for too long, he laughs himself to death. If Batman doesn't set off his trap for Killer Croc, we are treated to a first-person shot of Croc lunging to his head, along with the sound of bones getting crushed. There are several more examples, but one of the more humorous ones is when Zsasz has Dr. Young trapped in his arms; if you are seen, miss your Batarang, or if you wait too long, Zsasz kills her, with the Joker mocking you.
Joker: Who would have thought the deranged murderer would really kill the poor, little doctor?
- In Dishonored:
You failed to stop Delilah's ritual.
- Two of them as death cutscenes in Hitman: Blood Money. The first is in You Better Watch Out... where an unknown Franchise assassin disguised as one of the strippers stabs 47 in the neck with a nail file. The second is in A Dance with the Devil; the singer is actually a Franchise assassin named Eve, who will try to seduce you. Should you follow her and wait for too long, she will stab 47 repeatedly.
- In Silent Hill 3, if you die a certain way or in a certain place, Valtiel is shown carrying away Heather's body.
- And if Heather shoots Claudia, Heather "births" the god and dies in a rather gruesome cutscene, where Claudia says "Oh God, bring us salvation".
- In Fatal Frame II, if you decide to use the secret passage to escape from the haunted village without your twin sister Mayu, you'll get a scene and then one of these. It could actually qualify as a bad ending, since it's a viable conclusion to the story and even suckier than the already depressing regular (and canonical!) ending.
- Resident Evil 4:
- If Ashley gets captured, a cutscene is shown of the Ganado carrying her off and the game over screen says "Mission Failed" instead of "You are Dead". This also occurs if she is killed, either by an enemy or your bad aim.
- Also, in an early scene, where you defend a cabin with an ally, if you shoot him too many times, you're treated to a cutscene where he gets sick of it and guns you down.
- In Slender: The Arrival, if you somehow manage to find your way out of the map's boundaries (either by mistake or by purposefully trying to glitch out of bounds), you will eventually end up falling through the map and get the standard Game Over screen, except there will be an additional message overlayed on the screen in messy-looking text: "Even a glitch in this game can't save you from me."
- In Dead Rising 2: Off The Record, Frank needs to take a dose of Zombrex once every 24 hours. If Frank doesn't get his shot by 8AM, he will drop dead on the spot.
- In SCP - Containment Breach, refusing to cooperate with the guards will have you terminated before the containment breach even occurs.
- When the containment breach begins, SCP-173 can snap your neck right before the blackout if you're not careful.
- It is also possible to get this with some SCP. For example, if SCP-049 touches you, it triggers a cutscene where you stumble towards a MTF operative, who proceeds to shoot and kill you due to you being infected with its "cure". Likewise, if you let yourself get infected with SCP-008 and not cure it with SCP-500, it will eventually result in a game-over cutscene where you, as a zombie, attack a researcher.
- Haunting Ground: There are several special cutscene deaths that the unsuspecting player can incur, mainly for failing at certain puzzles, but some are very obvious (did you really think hiding in an iron maiden was a good idea?).
Third Person Shooter
- Army Men: Sarge's Heroes has one in the ice level where you free prisoners. If you manage to get yourself locked in a cell, Plastro himself comes out of nowhere to mock you followed by a game over.
- Sarge's Heroes 2 has a hilarious one. The tutorial has you follow orders from Colonel Grimm, a.k.a. Vikki's father. You can choose to kill him and simply finish the tutorial yourself, but at the end, instead of Vikki's usual "Congratulations" when you open the last door, she will immediately shoot you with a bazooka as soon as the door opens. Even if you somehow dodge, you still fail.
- The second game and Toys In Space also have various failure cutscenes for missions, ranging from being melted by a magnifying glass to being torn apart by zombies in a hospital.
Turn Based Strategy
- The Disgaea series tends to give you often humorous Non Standard Game Overs for being beaten by the games' Goldfish Poop Gang, or one of the main team members before they've joined the group. Most of them are treated like endings (particularly in 3 and 4, which add lengthy narratives to them), causing the credits to roll, and in some cases, allowing you to start a New Game+ earlier then normal.
- In Disgaea 2, a multitude of characters propose bills to be the main character in the Dark Assembly. Should they be passed (and there's a very high chance they will without any intervention on your part), you immediately get a game over. Also, winning the Hopeless Boss Fight against Laharl, or the one against Etna, nets a Non Standard Game Over as well.
- Revisiting the final level of the first chapter in Disgaea 3 and winning the battle there before a certain point in the story also results in a humorous Non Standard Game Over where Mao and Almaz openly acknowledge that they've screwed up the plot and the only option is to reset the game.
- In Makai Kingdom postgame, you can trigger an encounter with Zetta himself, who turns out to be Overlord Baal possessing Zetta's lost body. Winning the fight nets you the body as a playable character. However, if you've previously shanghaied Laharl and use him as the active character when initiating the encounter, and then winning the fight, results in Laharl claiming the victory instead of Zetta, followed by him destroying the body and ending Zetta's reign.
- Waerjak in Heroes of Might and Magic IV can trigger one of these when he meets the Boar's Hoof tribe. Waerjak is given the option of attacking them and claiming their garrison; if he does so, his followers will turn on him, proclaiming his philosophy of community to be a lie.
- This is a recurring element throughout the campaigns, made easier by the fact that all events are narrated instead of animated, resulting in various different scenarios that you wouldn't normally see in a game. If Lysander, for example, were to attack Glen Garrison to rescue the Big Bad's mother (instead of finding a way around it), the commander would notify him that he sent his men to execute her. If Elwyn takes the red ship instead of the blue one, Shaera would commit suicide, believing that he died (granted, this is an unnecessary complication of the gameplay, since Harke will bribe the crew to switch the sails, and Elwyn arrives just in time to save the girl anyway, making the outcome pretty much the same).
- Might and Magic VI has a special ending video if you complete the end-game dungeon without getting the Ritual of the Void. You are warned that if you destroy the Kreegan Hive's reactor without powerful magic to keep it contained, it will destroy the world. Ignore the advice, and you get to see exactly that happen.
- Another way to get this in Might and Magic is in VII, but you'd have to be pretty stupid for it to happen. For one quest in the main storyline, you end up working for two nobles simultaneously, and your actions during the quest require you to betray them both. Treason is a crime punishable by death, and that might make you worried. However, in each case, there are no witnesses and no evidence pointing to you, so neither of them would even suspect you unless you actually confessed. Believe it or not, there's an option that lets you do that when you finish the quest and report back to them. Long story short, if you confess to one of them, you won't live long enough to tell the other.
- Blaze Union: Although the game over conditions are normal, losing the battlefield where your female characters are cornered by a gang while shopping leads to a unique scene, where it's explained said party members, one of them in her teens, were so deeply traumatized by the rape the revolution had to be put on hold indefinitely.
- Ace Attorney:
- In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, in the fifth case, there is a piece of evidence that appears to point to one person, but the place where it was found points to the real murderer. If you present it too early, i.e. before the real murderer admits that he was hiding it, you're told that the trial was unwinnable from that point onward, and the word "Guilty" appears on a black background.
- Similarly, in Justice for All, right near the end of the 4th case, you're given a chance to show a particular piece of evidence to a particular person. Pick the wrong thing or person, and the villain goes free, an innocent person is convicted, and Phoenix quits being a lawyer. "The miracle never happen..."
- Also, in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, you actually get to pick the verdict at the end, thanks to the jury. If you pick guilty, it results in a hung jury, and the defendant dies in the hospital.
- In Ace Attorney Investigations 2, you can refuse to help a mentally unstable and profoundly broken Sebastian Debeste and instead tell him that he's "a failure as a human being". Doing so finally puts him over the edge and ends the case immediately, as he's the only one who can find the evidence his father got rid of.
- The final case of Dual Destinies provides unique game over sequences during its sole trial day, which double as bad endings.
- In Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, nonstandard game overs are actually plot-critical. If you try to get the True Ending on your first playthrough, instead you get the Coffin Ending. You need to find the Safe Ending first... Eventually you find that you are actually playing from the perspective of the protagonist's friend in the past. The fact that you know it would be impossible for Junpei to know at the time is because she (you) actually ran through these scenarios where Junpei made this or that decision, gleaning more information about the best way to proceed each time.
- This persists in the sequel Virtue's Last Reward. You will be running into a lot of different endings, several of which are 'To Be Continued' path locks that require secret knowledge from other paths to get past.
- Virtue's Last Reward normally has fairly standard Game Over conditions: Sigma loses the Nonary Game and either dies or becomes trapped in the facility. But some other Game Overs, which do not even appear on the game's provided flowchart, arise in circumstances where a plot thread is impossibly damaged; for example, if the player managed to annoy Alice enough to alienate her by repeatedly failing to decode a message, the game ends instantly, even though nothing has happened to Sigma.
- As a combination Visual Novel/RPG, Fate/EXTRA has one of these for pretty much every defeat by another Master, as well as a number of ways to lose by making a wrong dialog choice. (DEAD END, indeed.)
- Fate/stay night has Multiple Endings which are tagged with a descriptive note, with all game-overs being tagged "Dead End" if Shirou dies and "Bad End" in all other cases. The odd ending out is the "Superhero" ending, where Shirou decides to kill Sakura and likely Rin and Ilya as well in order to prevent a disaster. Despite being a very harsh bad ending, it is referred to only as an "End", the only ending with this note.
- Kara no Shoujo has a few, but some are difficult to distinguish from the good endings, such as they are. In one in particular, Reiji will end the game locked in a mental ward if he disembowels his best friend Shugo for the key to escape a trap.
Wide Open Sandbox
- Fallout has several, narrated like the HaveANiceDeaths by Ron Perlman. If you choose to reveal Vault 13's location to the Lieutenant, a cinematic plays where your character is dipped in the vats, becoming a Super Mutant, Vault 13's citizens are captured to befall a similar fate, and the Overseer is violently killed by mutant invaders.
- Fallout and Fallout 2 both have a built-in time limit — if this is ever reached, a small cinematic with the words "THE END" plays and the game quits back to the title screen. It takes about thirteen years of game time though, so it's really no bother unless you're actively seeking it out.
- In the Fallout: New Vegas DLC Dead Money, if you agree to work with Elijah at the end, as opposed to killing him, the game ends and a cutscene explains how the Courier and Elijah spread the toxic cloud across the entirety of the Mojave, turning it into an uninhabitable wasteland. There's another one where examining a computer message specifically meant for Dean Domino in the Sierra Madre Vault will lock the Courier in there. After s/he eventually dies, a hologram of him/her is created.
- Fallout 3 allows you to tell Colonel Autumn the activation code for the water purifier. He thanks you, then shoots you.
- Also, if you fail to activate the purifier in time, it explodes, terminating your game regardless of whether Broken Steel is installed, since without the purifier, the events of the epilogue can't take place, and the main characters are probably killed in the explosion anyways.
- Choosing to suicide or shoot Forrest Kaysen over shooting Emily to end her suffering in Deadly Premonition results in York telling Zach he made the wrong choice, while showing a shriveled up Emily in the Red Room, and allowing the choice to try again.
- In X: Beyond the Frontier, if you shoot at the Terran mothership during the Justified Tutorial, you'll get the usual "cut it out" remarks from the flight controller. If you keep doing it past the part where he threatens you with Reassigned to Antarctica, he'll actually do it.
- In Saints Row IV, at one point you're are offered a choice to either keep fighting or take a deal with the aliens to save the world by dying. If you take the deal, you get a game over screen telling you that you shouldn't have trusted them.
- In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, during the mission "Stowaway", you can jump out the plane without a parachute, which leads into a cutscene showing CJ crashing into a parked car at a drive-in.
Examples in non-video game applications:
- In game show parlance, Non-Standard Game Over is, in its broadest sense, a form of Epic Fail, where a contestant performs so poorly that he is either disqualified or causes a situation where the winner's score makes it mathematically impossible for him/her to catch up. In several game shows, the game is ended early, the losing contestant is given his Consolation Prizes, and the winner plays the bonus game early.
- A number of quiz shows from the late 1960s and early 1970s – including the Who, What or Where Game and the original Sale Of The Century –- had rules where falling below zero at any time immediately eliminated that player from further play. These games spotted the players a small bankroll ($20 for $otC, $125 for the betting-type 3 Ws and –- like Jeopardy! money was deducted for incorrect answers, but enough incorrect answers meant falling to or below $0 and sealed the player's fate. The "$0 means goodbye" rule was eliminated for the more familiar 1983 $otC and the 3 Ws 1990 remake The Challengers. (With the earlier incarnations, the standard "game over" is at the end of the front game of $otC (we've just played the last question, here's the scores, here's our champion) or, on the 3 Ws, after the day's final category is played with all three contestants participating.
- Blockbusters: The Bonus Round, called "Gold Rush" (or "Gold Run"), required players to make a side-to-side chain on a game board by answering questions within a 60-second time limit; an incorrect answer blocked the progress and required the contestant to work his/her way around. The trope kicked into effect for just the first few weeks of the series' run –- if, because of enough wrong answers, there was no longer a way to make a side-to-side connection before the 60-second time limit expired, the game ended early. The trope no longer was in effect after the bonus round was tweaked; the contestant could still win consolation cash by continuing to answer questions until the time limit expired.
- Card Sharks: In the Big Money Cards bonus round, the game automatically ends prior to the Big Bet card if, while on the second row, the contestant busts out -– i.e., bets everything on an incorrect hunch. (On the NBC version, this was marked by a harsh buzzer followed by a truncated ''The Price is Right'' losing horns). Quite a few times, there have been players who have "two-card busted" (meaning they blow everything on the first card, then -– with the card moved immediately to the second row and the player given a new bankroll -– immediately lose everything on their next call of the cards).
- Jeopardy!: In its broadest sense, any player who has $0 or a negative cash score at the end of the "Double Jeopardy!" round ends his participation in the show early (i.e., he's not around for "Final Jeopardy!"). However, at least once on the original NBC series -– the late 1960s, by most accounts -– the trope truly kicked into full effect when all three players had negative cash scores and thus were ineligible for "Final Jeopardy!" No "Final Jeopardy!" was played that day, and Art Fleming spent the rest of the time talking with the audience. The standard "game over" is with all three players participating in "Final Jeopardy!"
- A twist on the "nonstandard game over" trope is the "lock game" scenario, where the leading contestant's score at the end of "Double Jeopardy!" is more than double that of the second-place contestant ... assuming, of course, he/she does not bet more than what he'd be left with if he were incorrect and the second-place player was correct and bet enough. In this case, a standard "game over" is a competitive game, where the second-place contestant can still win if certain things go right (e.g., a correct answer and a wise bet, vs. the champion being wrong and forced to bet enough to cover the second-place player's wager).
- Match Game: The 1970s version's two-part Super Match — the Audience Match followed by the Head-to-Head Match — required the contestant to match at least one of the top three answers in the Audience Match portion of the game to play the Head-to-Head portion; failure to do so ended this bonus round early. While not uncommon during the CBS and daily syndicated run, only one time did it happen on Match Game PM (where two Audience Matches were played back-to-back prior to the Head-to-Head round), forcing a modified front-game question to be played in place of that show's Head-to-Head match; the contestant won.
- Name That Tune: Most game shows' bonus rounds that were quiz-based allowed for incorrect answers; the game would still proceed and allow the contestant a chance to achieve the stated goal (guess 10 correct answers in 60 seconds to win). This game was one of the exceptions: With only seven songs to be guessed (in a 30-second time period), the contestant had to guess all seven songs correctly to win the day's top prize and be invited back to a grand prize tournament. This meant that even one wrong answer stops the game immediately and the player is left to take home consolation prizes. The standard game overs, then, come if the player guesses all seven songs or the time limit expires before all seven songs are guessed.
- The Price Is Right: Several pricing games – those involving the pricing of groceries or small items – have this clause if the contestant is wrong with all questions or fails to meet any conditions on his/her given choices (usually three), and the contestant had to earn all picks. A few examples:
- Bullseye: In this game involving pricing of groceries, the objective was to pick an item and tell how many was needed to – when multiplied by the price of the item – reach a target score of $10-12, which was an Instant-Win Condition. If the actual total wasn't within $10-12 but at least $2 and not more than $12, the contestant earned a mark on the board resembling an archery target, meaning they could still win if that item concealed a hidden bullseye; up to three turns were given. The trope kicks in, then, if the contestant fails to at least get one mark on the board – that is, he was below $2 or above $12 on every one of his three picks; despite the instant early loss condition, the host often will still show the audience which grocery item had the hidden bullseye.
- 5 Price Tags: If the contestant is wrong on all four true-false pricing questions. At least one correct answer was needed to be able to pick from one of the price tags they thought was the correct price.
- Master Key: If the contestant is wrong on all either-or pricing questions, meaning no pick of which one of the five keys. At least one correct answer was needed to try to pick the right key and (attempt to) win at least something.
- Rat Race: If the contestant is wrong on all three pricing questions, meaning no selection of the rats and no running of the colorful rodents. At least one was needed to run the race.
- Shell Game: If the contestant is wrong on all four higher-lower pricing questions; they had to have at least one correct to place a chip beside the shell they thought concealed the ball.
- One Away: If the contestant is wrong on all five numbers the first time; one correct number was necessary to attempt a second try. A nonstandard win occurs if the contestant gets all five numbers right on the first try.
- Pyramid: In the front game, after the first four categories are played, the fifth category is selected by the team that is trailing. If, after that fifth category, the team's score is still behind that of their opponents, the game is automatically ended. More than once, because the trailing team was behind by more than eight points (categories only have seven words, meaning a maximum of seven points possible per round), the game was ended after the fourth category. The standard game over, then, comes with the sixth category (either the winning team scores enough points to win, or if the trailing team is still behind when time expires).
- Theoretically, the earliest a Pyramid front game could end is during the playing of the first word of the fourth category; that is, the losing team is trailing 14-0 and they immediately get disqualified on the first word. Not enough words would be available to help the trailing team at least tie.
- Good News Week: Several episodes of the Australian current-affairs comedy have ended with both teams losing to the studio audience. On one particularly memorable occasion during the show's original 90's run, the show was won by host/scorer/umpire Paul McDermott.
- The penalty shootout occurs in many sports games, where the players or teams are tied after a certain amount of regulation play, getting alternate turns shooting or trying to score from a set situation and the team who scores the most wins.
- The most widely known example is in Association Football, where teams get a number of shots from the penalty spot with the team who score the most winning. 5 kicks is the standard practice. If tied they keep going until one team misses while the other scores. Field Hockey shares the same style of shootout.
- Ice Hockey has a form where one player takes the puck from the halfway line, skates towards the goal and has to try and score in a one-one one with the goalkeeper. The North American Soccer League introduced a variation of penalty kicks that took inspiration from Ice Hockey, where the player would start 25 yards away from the goal and have to dribble towards the penalty box and shoot past the keeper. The majority of these attempts failed due to the strict time 5 second shot clock which stopped players from getting anywhere past the start of the penalty box and thus a long way from goal.
- At the high school level and below –- and in some cases, the collegiate level and some non-major league level sports leagues –- there is a "mercy rule," which serves to either end a game after a prescribed point in the game or kick into effect a rule that hastens the end of the game once the winning team's margin reaches a defined point. This is as opposed to playing out a one-sided game to its natural conclusion under normal rules. Common applications:
- Baseball and softball:
- Virtually all state high school associations have rules which end games after a prescribed lead after a certain number of innings have been played. In both sports, the rule is usually 10 runs after five innings; it differs by sport if the winning team builds a larger lead even earlier; for instance, in baseball, the common rule is 15 runs after four innings, while in softball teams need only to have a 12-run lead after three innings. College contests have variations of this rule, but since baseball games at this level sometimes go the full nine innings, the 10-run rule doesn't usually kick in until the seventh inning. Softball rules are typically similar to high school's "10 after five" rule.
- Child-based and junior high level baseball and softball, and some semi-professional leagues often have variations of the "mercy rule." For instance, a townball league for children may even have a rule where a team that builds a huge lead — say, 30-0 — after just one inning is no longer is allowed to bat, and the trailing team is given more than the standard three outs (usually six, or if they are the home team and haven't batted yet, nine) to give everyone at least one at-bat, with the game continuing only if in the game manager's judgement the losing team has sufficiently caught up.
- Most states have a "continuous clock" rule, which means that if a team has a certain lead after halftime (it varies from 35-50 points), the clock runs continuously, not stopping on plays where the clock normally would be stopped, such as an incomplete pass or a play going out of bounds (although the clock does stop for quarter breaks, time outs, and any scoring). The clock continues to run in these games until the scoring difference falls below the prescribed margin (normal timing rules once again take effect), but then kick back in if the winning team once again exceeds the margin.
- Prior to the advent of "continuous clock" rules, some states had rules whereby the game would end at halftime or any time after if the winning team has a certain lead (usually, 50 points or more). In Kansas, an eight-man football game stops once a team gets a lead of at least 45 points by halftime or at any point after that (The entire first half must be played out). This rule came into effect during the 1980s, when some games featured mismatches so great, the winning team was easily scoring 90 or, on some rare occasions, 100 points.
- In the NFL, most overtime games end with a field goal or touchdown, but on three occasions, they have ended in a safety (a defensive play where the defense stops the offense inside their own end zone).
- Basketball: Much like football, state high school athletic associations have implemented "continuous clock" timing rules if the winning team is ahead by a certain margin (usually 30 points) after halftime. There are currently no known states that end a game before the end of the fourth quarter if an even higher point difference is reached.
- Many states have rules where a team would automatically be declared the winner and the game ended if ahead by a certain number of goals at halftime or any time after. Usually, this difference is 10 goals. Additionally, a few states have provisions limiting the number of red cards a team can receive during the season before being disqualified from post-season competition. In a game situation, the trope kicks into effect if the disqualifying red card is given to a team, automatically – upon verification that indeed the "red card" limit has been surpassed – ending the game and awarding the game to the other team by default.
- In Canada, the Gloucester Dragons league briefly had a reverse mercy rule, in which a blowout by more than five goals counted as a loss for the winning team. This got such bad press that the league reversed course within two weeks, adopting a standard eight-goal mercy rule. The reverse rule had actually been directed at coaches, some of whom had been letting their teams run roughshod over weaker ones, but it sent a pretty dubious message to everyone else — not to mention the obvious potential for abuse (score six own goals to win!).
- The NCAA (particularly in football and basketball) and professional leagues such as the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball do not have mercy rules, meaning they could score an unlimited number of points, runs, etc., without having special rules kick into effect to hasten the end of the game. Meaning unfortunate teams on the losing end would have no choice but to continue playing and trying to reduce the margin. (Which is not very fun for the loser.) That said, a continuous clock was used on at least three occasions in NCAA Division I football games, where the winning team ran up a large lead by halftime and agreed to a continuous clock for the entire second half; the winning team in all cases at least maintained the lead, with two of them increasing the lead. Aside from that, teams that have a very large lead over their opponents, especially a decidedly weaker one, will typically play reserves, run plays designed to take time off the clock (such as in football, run the ball up the middle and rarely if ever pass), use pinch hitters (in baseball, said roles going to non-starters and/or reserves) with low batting averages, or shoot the ball conservatively (in basketball).
- Boxing: At all levels, a boxer can be knocked down only so many times before he will be declared the loser by TKO — that is, a "technical knockout." It is also an automatic "game over" — that is, match over — if one boxer fails to answer a 10 count (that is, sufficiently get up in the referee's judgement) to continue the match. At some levels (though rarely at high-level bouts, since it rarely happens), the match automatically ends if a boxer is knocked down three times in a round.
- In the "8-Ball" variant of pocket billards, you win if you legally sink the 8-ball (no other balls of your pattern remaining, calling the pocket you're going to sink the 8-ball in and then legally sinking the 8-ball there) before your opponent does. However, it is possible to lose on your turn instead, in the following ways:
- Sinking the 8-ball when you haven't sunk every ball of your pattern yet.
- When you are allowed to sink the 8-ball:
- Sinking the 8-ball in a pocket you did not call.
- Sinking the 8-ball in the correct pocket, but making a foul in the process (e.g. a scratch, hitting an opponent's ball first).note
- Knocking the 8-ball off the table, although this is generally rare.
- In Association Football, apart from the usual results of a win or draw over 90 minutes, or the 120 minutes of extra time, there are a handful of other ways to win or lose a game.
- In a two match tie (used in knock-out competitions), the away goals rule, if the aggregate score is tied, then whoever scored the most goals in their match away from home wins.
- Most leagues have a statue in the laws that says when a team cannot field a certain number of players, (most often a team being down to 6 from a team of 11), the game is abandoned, although depending on the score or the laws of the league the game can still be awarded to the team with enough players.
- One example of this was titled the Battle Of Bramall Lane, where Sheffield United had their goalkeeper sent off in the 9th minute, followed by two players who had been substituted onto the pitch being involved in a scuffle with the opposition that resulted in both being sent off only minutes after coming on. This left them with 8 players. They went down to 7 players when one was injured in the 79th minute minutes right after their opposition took a 3-0 lead, followed by another player going off hurt in the 83rd. Reduced to 6 players, the referee abandoned the match, which was subsequently awarded to West Bromwich Albion.
- Numerous sports have what is termed "Sudden Death", "Golden Goal" or "Golden Point" where after a draw, the game continues to be played in extra time, with the first team to score a point of any kind is immediately the winner. It was introduced for Association Football in 1993 but removed by 2004.
- A bizarre variation of the Golden Goal rule as part of the 1994 Caribbean Cup Qualification football tournament was that any goal scored in Golden Goal extra time counted as double for the league ladder in addition to winning the match itself. The final match for Barbados required them to defeat Grenada by 2 goals to qualify in first place and go through to the tournament itself. Barbados were winning the match 2-1, but were unable to score a goal to make the game 3-1. They decided to score an own goal which would tie the match and send it to extra time, hopefully allowing them to score a golden goal, worth double, to finish first. With only a handful of minutes left, the Grenada players cottoned onto the plan, and realised that they would finish first if they could score a goal at either end of the field. This resulted in Barbados defending both ends of the field and they succeeded in bringing the game to extra time and then scored a winning golden goal, winning the match 4-2 (despite only scoring 3 goals), and then qualifying in first place.
- Another development across word sports was the "Silver Goal" (although other sports use different terminology). It is a variation of Golden Goal where the instant win condition of scoring any point in extra time is removed to allow the opposition team a certain amount of time or plays to equal or better the opposition. In Association Football this Silver Goal period was one half of extra time. When used in American Football, the team who have been scored on get one drive to match or better their opposition result, which can lead to a team scoring a field goal, then losing because their opposition scored a touchdown.
- In Sumo Wrestling, if a wrestler's loin cloth falls off, they lose instantly. For obvious reasons, this infraction is extremely rare.
- Cricket test matches has 3 standard endings after the 5 days of play, with 2 innings per team, comes to a close: A team may either win, lose, or drawnote the match. The non-standard ending is the tie, where the scores are exactly level once the team batting fourth and last has lost all of their batsmen. This has only happened twice in more than 2100 test matches. Should not be confused with the scores being level as the allotted time runs out, in which case it's a "We flippin' murdered 'em"-draw.
- Chess: Resigning before you're put into checkmate. Often symbolized by deliberately knocking over your own king's piece, though this is not required. Both players may also choose to agree to a draw if they realize that neither of them can reasonably checkmate the other.
- Seeing as it is based on comic books, Sentinels Of The Multiverse features a few way to cause the players to get a Non Standard Game Over (the standard way of winning is to reduce the Villain to 0 HP)
- If Baron Blade has 15 or more cards in his trash (i.e. discard pile) at the start of his turn, his Tractor Beam plunges the moon into the Earth, and everyone dies.
- Evil Alien Overlord Grand Warlord Voss takes over the Earth if he has 10 or more Minions in play at the start of his turn.
- The Dreamer turns the Standard win condition listed above into the lose condition in battles against her: If she dies, the heroes lose. Justified, for two reasons: 1) The Dreamer is the child version of the hero Visionary, who time traveled to the present to save her younger self from a government project, so if Dreamer dies, Visionary dies. 2) the Dreamer's psychic powers overloaded during a nightmare and the nightmares themselves but be destroyed to wake her up. In short, the battle is one big Hostage Situation.
- This is Inverted with Gloomweaver. If the heroes manage to get all three of his Relicsnote into his trash before he can flip, the heroes succeed in preventing his summoning to Earth, and Gloomweaver automatically loses.
- The environments also have Non Standard Game Overs occasionally. The most prominent is the Self Destruct Sequence in the Wager Mars Base. If the Sequence completes itself, the base blows up and everyone dies.
- Silver Gulch, 1993, has Lost In the Past. If there are no cards in the Enviorment's trash by the end of it's turn, the time portal the heroes used to get to Silver Gulch closes and thus, the heroes lose.
- The Mobile Defense Platform has the Propulsion Systems. If it loses all of it's 10 HP, the Platform blows up and everyone dies. Note that it can be removed or destroyed in other ways without invoking the everyone dieing part.