A number of SEGA's early Arcade games end with a huge "Wait, what?" moment:
Infamously, the arcade release of Altered Beast ends with the entire thing you've just played through revealed to be a movie that they were filming. And they all go out for a cold beer after wrapping up the shoot.
Sky ends with the Descendant sacrificing their Winged Light and succumbing to the darkness, before suddenly returning to life due to hugging a brighter version of themselves. They, and the statues they sacrificed their WL to, who also shatter and return to life, fly through broken castles and towards space, and after a piano-filled credits sequence, they land in a sea-space place called Orbit, where the Winged Light they sacrificed salutes them before transforming into Ascended Candles. Now, the Descendant can choose to upgrade the Ancestor Shop trees, purchase cosmetics from the Elder Spirits, or leave to be reborn. Confusion is understandable.
The conclusion to case 3 in Touch Detective 2½. The Fossil Hunter turns out to be a living fossil from another dimension, who is only able to live in the normal dimension thanks to his eye. His tears are connected to the Cambrian ocean, and he uses them to raise extinct fossils. When he cried in reverse back when he heard about the Noodle Festival, the Seabottom Dwellers, a group from an ancient race who it turns out are not extinct and live in the mountains, took it as a sign of impending peril, so they removed his eye, which turned him into a fossil. The weird pink thing that showed up at the three-quarters point that almost poked out Mackenzie's eye? Turns out to be one of the members of the ancient Sea Dweller race. They were going around poking out left eyes from things at the museum because they can't speak human language and were trying to primitively communicate to the humans about the doom they were sensing. This is all explained in one long explanation from the Fossil Hunter after he's turned back from a fossil thanks to Mackenzie putting his eye back in, in the midst of the arch villain, the Cornstalker, trying to steal his eye, which everyone thought was a rare ancient pearl, and being fooled into taking a fake one. The entire thing even makes Mackenzie confused, which is saying something given all the other stuff she's already seen before.
The Marathon series is probably the best example of this. Although the second game is pretty straightforward, the first one still has people arguing about it on forums. Also, not a single damned person has a bit of an idea about what anything in the third game means at all.
OFF tasks you with going through numerous steps to acquire the necessary items to even get the chance to access what the game calls the "true ending," which either demands backtracking through Zones you've already purified to find all four of the Grand Items, some of which are hidden in secret rooms or requires you to walk diagonally in a White Void Room to locate, and to defeat the infamously difficultSugar. After all of this, Zacharie offers you either the Ashley Bat, or the Aries Card, which grants you access to the ending after the final credits roll. What exactly is the ending? You've given a view of an alternate dimension in which a spaceship descends from the sky, and monkey-like beings who call themselves "Space Apes" emerge, gleefully decreeing that they knew that everything in the game would unfold exactly as they had forseen, and thanks to the world being purified and blank, they can now build their "giant, vicious robot factory" to defeat "the flying brains from planet Aurus." Keep in mind that there are zero monkeys, spaceships, or flying brains mentioned in the entire game until now.
Astro Boy: Omega Factors ending: A giant machine called Death Mask appears from right the fuck out of nowhere and kills all robots on Earth, including Astro. Roll credits. Fortunately, this turns out to be just the halfway point of the game, and the rest involves Astro getting unstuck in time thanks to the Phoenix and jumping around the game's timeline to find out how to prevent this from happening.
Xenoblade, a game normally pretty good about foreshadowing plot twists in advance, has an ending that comes completely out of nowhere. It turns out that Zanza the Jerkass God was actually a human Mad Scientist named Klaus who messed around with a universe-creating machine and accidentally destroyed the universe and remade it with him as a God. Mayneth was also a human who just happened to be there at the time. Zanza and Mayneth got lonely, so they created all the living things in the world. Then Zanza turned evil for some reason, leading to the events of the game. Then Alvis, the party's Mysterious Protector throughout the game, is revealed to be a computer program (namely, the embodiment of said universe-creating machine) and throughout the whole game, he was guiding Shulk to kill Zanza for abusing the system. Also, killing Zanza made Shulk the new god of the universe, but he turns down the power and asks to create a world with no gods. The universe explodes and is remade but both the party and all the NPCs in the game still seem the same as they used to be. And Fiora gets turned back into a Homs again with no explanation. (There actually was going to be an explanation for this, but it got cut for time and eventually relegated to All There in the Manual.)
Fable, a 1996 adventure game of no relation to the one from Lionhead Studios. The entire game is full of Scenery Porn and an admittedly interesting story. However, once you try to give yourself the knowledge of the Mecubarz, all you see is a cutscene where the protagonist is in jail, with the narrator describing how it was his 21st birthday and how he couldn't believe that he killed all of his own family with a frozen mackerel at the age of three. This is in the UK version; the US version ends with him simply returning to have lunch with his girlfriend.
Super Mario Galaxy, surprising for a series that's usually known for shallow plots, and a game that seems to follow that pattern throughout. It usually takes at least two viewings of the ending for players to figure out just what happened, which is convenient because you need to see the ending four times for 100% Completion. It involves the complete destruction of the universe, a Fade to White moment between Mario and an enormous Rosalina, the rebirth of the universe which apparently Mario and co. pass through unaffected, and Mario yelling "WELCOME NEW GALAXY!!"
The original Famicom Disk System version of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels ended with a cutscene with the normally black background of the castle interior turning sky blue and then involving random Toads circling Mario/Luigi and Peach, both on the ground and in the air, constantly disappearing and reappearing as if either Mario/Luigi was actually making something up. This ending was changed in the Super Mario All-Stars SNES remake in which Mario/Luigi simply frees Peach from a cage hanging over a pit of lava, just like in the Super Mario Bros. remake on the same cartridge.
Invoked with Last Case: The Disappearance of Amanda Kane. The game ends with Jack Forester being abducted by what appear to be aliens. Up until then, the game was nothing more than a cliché Film Noir cop story about a private investigator trying to find Amanda Kane. Word of God admitted on Game Jolt that this was done intentionally to subvert how cliché the game already was.
Chrono Cross: The main character is supposed to be dead. A computer that controls destiny. The computer kept humanity safe from a race of dragon people, Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!. Everybody from the last game is inexplicably dead and your actions may or may not have actually done anything about it. Schala Lives! But Lavos is inside of her! But no worries, you exorcise Lavos with a song! Then finally, a credits sequence of a girl heavily implied to be Kid/Schala running around in Tokyo? And good luck figuring out if you actually accomplished anything from playing the game.
Beyond Good & Evil springs a last-minute surprise on the player that's set up in such a way that it's incredibly easy to miss the DomZ are feeding on the citizens of Hillys because their own weird alien lifeforce, which they call "shauni", was stolen from them by Jade's parents. Jade's somehow the DomZ's shauni, and they would very much like her back. In hindsight, it's a decent explanation for a lot of odd behaviour that the player's already put down to "it's a game". It's not terribly well set-up even if you notice the extremely incidental evidence the game presents in the final level, specifically a conversation the player overhears that's optional, and how the sacred chant the DomZ keep repeating has the same lyrics as the battle music including the word "shauni".
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II had this for Light Side. You beat Kreia, she talks to you for a bit, explaining why she liked you, and explaining the fates of some of your comrades. Then, she dies, your ship picks you up, after it fell into a chasm to its apparent destruction earlier, then flies away from the exploding planet unscathed. AND NOTHING ELSE HAPPENS. No denouement, no "what's next?", just hop on the ship GOOD NIGHT, EVERYBODY, leaving everyone wondering "Okay, is there ANY backstory for Sion or Nihilus? How did the remote beat G0-T0? And why was HK apparently completely extraneous?"
Cut content that has been partially restored by modders actually makes more sense of this. There was a cut mission that would have been played solely as HK during the battle over Telos where he would have gone to the factory making HK knockoffs. HK uploads his personality into new upgrades and destroys the entire line of droids that's been hunting you. In the light side ending, he and his new friends show up to take care of G0-T0 and let the remote do its work.
The Dark Side ending wasn't any better; in fact, it was worse. Your ship falls into a chasm before you even reach the academy for no apparent reason. Then, you beat Traya and become leader of the Sith Academy. That's it, no mention of what happened to the rest of your party, except for the remote, which G0-T0 presumably destroyed. Just you and the academy. A Winner Is You indeed.
The planned ending involved a variety of things, such as your friends actually trying to help (rather than mostly just disappearing once you hit Malachor), possible tragic deaths, and even maybe facing Atris instead of Kreia. Which would have been much better. But no. Thanks a lot, Lucas Arts. And for some reason, Lucas Arts adamantly refused to allow the release of any patches to restore the cut content.
Also, the entire story of Revan and the Exile has been Gainax'd by the coming MMO....
Word of God states that Revan and the Exile never returned from the Unknown Regions. The Sith Emperor used Revan as a living power source, but in doing so left Revan in a position to subtly influence the Emperor's mind, playing on his fear that the Sith Empire might not win against the Republic. And the Exile's Force ghost helped Revan stay sane enough to keep at it. Their original plan was to confront the Emperor with a doubting Sith Lord at their side. During the battle, during which the Emperor was totally dominating all three (even after Revan regained his full memories and power), the Sith Lord has a vision of a different Jedi Knight standing over the Emperor's body, realizes they're not going to win this fight, and salvages his own situation by stabbing the Exile In the Back, which distracts Revan long enough for the Emperor to blast him with lightning.
The Nintendo 64 adaptation of Neon Genesis Evangelion, much like the anime series and movie it was based on, has a Gainax Ending, but with some important distinctions from End of Evangelion: After Asuka's death, instead of a Heroic Blue Screen of Death, Shinji goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, using the Lance of Longinus to destroy the mass-produced EVAs. Third Impact still occurs, but the game ends on a slightly happier note with Shinji reaching down to Asuka instead of trying to choke her on the beach.
The World Ends with You is almost a Double Subversion: the plot is a Gambit Pileup we don't get too many details about, and the ending is just utterly confusing. However, you're then given the ability to unlock reports explaining what happened. But then you eventually get all of them, and unlock a final scene that makes even less sense. When the events of the ending reduce the protagonist to screaming "WHAT THE HELL?!," it's a sure sign of this trope.
Dragon Squadron Danzarb (which actually happens to be partly made by Gainax, funnily enough) ends with the revelation that the soldiers in the squad are mind-wiped convicts who were sent to a remote island chain to fight staged battles (while being secretly filmed "reality TV" style). The money earned from their exploitation is being used to fund "real" military ventures in the rest of the world (which they've been sealed away from). After discovering the truth, the main character looks into a camera and chews out whoever is watching, scolding them for getting a kick out of watching other people die for the sake of their own amusement (implying that the player, who has been watching the whole thing, is one of those sickos).
The Good ending for Star Soldier: Vanishing Earth consist of a nonsensical poem that doesn't have anything to do with the plot. The Bad ending, while making more sense, is still very strange.
Red Dead Redemption 2 gives an interesting In-Universe one with the "Geology for Beginners" side-mission. Protagonist Arthur comes across a man named Francis Sinclair in a cottage who wants him to find rock carvings for him. The carvings include depictions of skyscrapers and atomic bombs which are at odds with the game's setting of 1899. Francis also speaks in mid-twentieth century slang that Arthur doesn't understand but someone playing the game would see as out of place. When you come back to the cottage, Arthur finds a woman that he assumes is Francis's wife and says that he wants to speak with him. Mrs. Sinclair says that her husband is dead and that it's her infant son she's holding who's named Francis. This is all implying that Francis is some sort of time traveler. Arthur, being a turn of the century cowboy with no formal education whatsoever, just doesn't understand what's going on and leaves confounded. Poor Arthur just isn't well-versed in Time Travel Tropes like someone playing the game would be.
Silent Hill invokes this trope no matter which of the Multiple Endings one achieves. Both Good endings have Alessa and Cheryl merging and forming a giant glowing woman thingy. Kaufman splashes some red liquid on it, and it suddenly becomes a giant red demon thingy, which Harry then has to kill. After its death, the glowing woman returns and gives Harry a baby, who then runs off into the fog. The end. The Bad ending has Harry kill the glowing woman thingy, which says "thank you" in Cheryl's voice before dying. Harry collapses in grief as the room crumbles, before Cybil snaps at him to leave. The Worst ending is also the worst Gainax Ending, as it only has Harry still in the car from the accident at the beginning of the game, unconscious/dead and bleeding from the head.
The following games mostly contain far less ambiguous endings (although they're still heavy on the Mind Screw), but they aren't immune from them. Without contest, the most bizarre is one of the endings of the second game, in which James discovers that the controlling force behind the town and the cause of all his torment is a dog. No, not a talking dog, just an ordinary dog. A Shiba Inu, to be specific. Her name is Mira. James is utterly confused, and the credits devolve into Shiba Inu happily barking... and growling at Eddie's belly. This is all played for laughs.
All Silent Hills (with the exception of Silent Hill 4 and Silent Hill: Downpour) contain a "UFO ending". The third game's one ends in a cheerful children's tune about the silly main characters. While we're on the subject, the aforementioned dog named Mira has been seen in two of the joke endings with the aliens.
Silent Hill: Homecoming has the notorious "Judgment" ending, where Alex is captured by monsters and then transformed into a creature akin to the legendary Pyramid Head of Silent Hill 2. Fans have actually figured out a logical explanation for this ending that makes it a subversion: "Judgment" is only unlocked if Alex does not Mercy Kill his mother and does not forgive his father. Furthermore, through the course of the game, Alex is directly or indirectly responsible for all of the deaths of the various parents that Pyramid Head is there to kill. In other words, Alex does Pyramid Head's job for him, and he does so to such an extent that Silent Hill decides it's only fitting to recruit him as a new Pyramid Head-type "agent".
The "comedy ending" of the white chamber seems to be this intentionally. The crew that Sarah had murdered turn up alive, and reveal that everything was just as planned for a surprise birthday party. It's rather entertaining, as the other crew members in this ending are a rather odd lot... Oh, and the meteor coming out of nowhere along with the karaoke bunny-ears guy riding it. "You were confused by the 'comedy' ending" indeed.
Braid's final level has the Princess running away from a knight, while you follow underneath her and help each other overcome obstacles. At the end, you find yourself outside the princess's bedroom, and are only able to rewind time. Rewinding shows that in fact it was you who was chasing the princess, while she tried to stop you with a variety of traps that you managed to overcome, with the knight rescuing her at the end.
Drakengard. Legions of creepy floating babies, a giant naked woman who uses sound as a weapon, a main character turning into a clone army of demonic angels that destroy the world, and that's just scratching the surface. The first ending, which is canon, is straightforward. The most bizarre ending the last one is also canonical.
Eternal Sonata. The story takes place in the fever dream of a dying man, so of course it's not going to make sense. It consists of 45 minutes about the main characters philosophing about Life, Death, Reality, and Dreams.
Killer7. While the individual stages have their own moments, like First Life being a front for Ulmeyda's thrill seeking cult, The Handsome Men being erased from existence by Trevor's sister killing them in a video game, and whatever the hell was the purpose of the room you fight Curtis in, the ending blows them all away. Samantha dies somehow, Christopher gets killed, Garcian interrupts Kun and Harman's chess game, Garcian is actually insane, there is another Harman Smith and he's in his 30's and works for the government, all of Garcian/Emir's actions were controlled by the United States government, the memos were sent years ago and are addressed to Garcian/Emir, and the guy writing them was killed by Samantha on the orders of old Harman, Emir/Garcian killed the entire Smith Syndicate at the age of 13, Iwazaru is Kun is the last Heaven Smile, Garcian/Emir's eyes turn green and he gets a nice suit, and Japan either gets bombed by the USA or leads the UN in a full-scale attack on America. Also, Kun and old Harman are alive 100 years later in Shanghai to do it all again.
No More Heroes has one. Like the rest of the game, it gets played purely for laughs. So much so that Travis and Henry decide to have a(nother) fight to the death, as Henry tells that it's Travis' job as the protagonist to explain everything and tie up all the loose ends, after he (Henry) does several big and relevant ass pullsin the last few minutes of the game. Needless to say, Travis isn't exactly thrilled at the prospect of such an ordeal and is reminded that there is no escaping the video game world.
Sylvia: You like this painting, don't you? Let's go, Jeane. I know, too bad there won't be a sequel. *Cue To Be ContinuedStinger*
Shadows of the Damned: You beat Fleming and saved Paula! CREDITS! Wait, doesn't Suda usually have two sets of credits... DID PAULA JUST EAT GARCIA? AND DO WE HAVE TO ACTUALLY FIGHT HER? OK, we beat her, she's calmed down, new credits. OK, Garcia's in an eternal war to stay with his demonic girlfriend...OK, normal for Suda... wait, Johnson's... RAPPING? AND SAYING THINGS COMPLETELY OUT OF CHARACTER?
Michigan: Report From Hell ends with the player character finally being revealed and being shot in the head before he can reveal who unleashed the monsters. Unless you pushed the Karma Meter so far you got the 'Evil' ending, where he claims to be the one behind everything that happened before turning into a monster.
Even LPs of Suda51's games aren't safe. Most notable in Chip and Ironicus' LPs of Killer 7 and No More Heroes, where the former ends in the revelation that the LP was all in Chip's head and the latter ends with Chip and Ironicus suddenly proclaiming "It's coming." repeatedly in monotone during the final video of the LP, until semi-trucks start to rain from the sky.
Killer Is Dead: Mondo Zappa kills the Big Bad and his Evil Twin, David. However, David was the only person that had kept the Dark Matter amassed on the moon under control: with him dead, the Dark Matter escapes to earth, threatening to destroy it. With no alternative, Mondo is forced to slice off his mechanical arm, which kept the Dark Matter from infecting him. The game then cuts away to Moon River, an enigmatic character who had ordered the hit on David, taking out another contract, to the surprise of Mondo's associates. Cut back to the moon, where Mondo is seen using Dark Matter to rebuild the mansion on the lunar surface that had been destroyed in his and David's fight, a new arm in place of his mechanical arm. Roll credits.
World of Goo: Every chapter has its own Gainax Ending. The Ivy Goos float away with balloons! The world is powered by the beauty of a giant ugly woman! The World of Goo corporation's new product is the third dimension! MOM is a spam bot! The fish have wings and levitate the telescope! The title refers to the moon! Made even better by the insanely epic music that plays during each scene, despite the game's premise being, essentially, poking goo until it goes somewhere.
Leisure Suit Larry 3: Passionate Patti in Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals has an extremely bizarre ending: After the player spends the last third of the game scouring the jungles of Nontoonyt as Patti looking for Larry, both characters get captured by lesbian cannibals and bound in a cage. Patti then uses a magic marker to draw a magical portal into the air, which transports them out of the game and into Sierra Studios, where they run around the Police Quest, Space Quest, and King's Quest sets until Roberta Williams offers Larry a lucrative deal to design and write adventure games based on his own adventures. Al Lowe had to skip the fourth installment in the series altogether just to write himself out of that one.
Who would end their game with a French music video?! The same guys who made Earthworm Jim apparently did this with their MDK, which ended with a bizarre music video by French group Billy Ze Kick featuring a mix of footage of the lead singer, footage from the game, and the occasional shot of a backup band populated by aliens. Said song is a cover of a song written to protest the Vietnam war. Take that as you will.
Cryostasis. The Crew being Ice Monsters aside, most of the storyline was fairly realistic, until you reach the end where Heat Cracks start appearing all over the ship and the Nuclear Reactor goes Chernobyl, whereupon Chronos, the God of Time, pops out and you have to defeat him using magical energy balls from your hands. Oh, and you go to some kind of ruins out in space where you get to go back in time to one of three different places and change history to prevent the tragedy from occurring in the first place. Presumably, it explains all the weird bits of the game.
Little King's Story has you find out that your entire world is a cardboard stage in the bedroom of a kid that looks like the king. The final boss battle is with some ordinary rats who are eating the stage, while a news reel keeps you apprised of what parts of your world are being destroyed by the fight. Then the real boy who looks like the king throws the rat out the window after the fight, and he and the tiny king see each other with gratuitous zoomshots of them being reflected in the other's eyes. Roll credits.
Tales of the Abyss. The regular ending you see before the credits is simple enough: the Big Bad is dead, most of the party escaped, but The Hero stays behind to make a Heroic Sacrifice; he gets congratulated for his work by Lorelei. It's the post-credits scene that screws everything up; it's been a couple of years? And The Hero is back? Or is it his twin/clone? What promise was he talking about? Why is his hair so long?
This one is justified as the developers deliberately left it open-ended. The original idea was to have Luke, the one we play as in the game, come back in the end with some In-universe technobabble to explain why. But it was eventually switched to a more ambiguous note, leaving players to make their own decisions, as it fit better with the tone of the climax, and the overall themes of the story.
Though the original ending to space shooter Tyrian is somewhat Gainax-y, involving the main character finally having enough of single-handedly saving the galaxy from the evil Microsol corporation over and over, and fleeing the galaxy, the re-release, Tyrian 2000, offers a final episode that's even more Gainax-y. Your ship is intercepted and you're forced to fight the Zinglon cult mentioned numerous times throughout the game, who turn out to be behind all of Microsol's evildoings and plan to deprive the universe of its food supplies and construct a fleet of warships made entirely out of fruit. Though the game's lore shows that the game designers weren't taking the story too seriously, the final episode is when the game stops any pretense of seriousness entirely.
Divinity II: Ego Draconis. What could have been a semi-decent game was rendered null by the way it ended. Basically, you spent all that time running around listening to a dead lady's voice in your head only to find out she's been tricking you. She sends you on a wild goose chase to resurrect the Big Bad's dead wife, Ygerna, saying it'll help defeat him. Turns out that she is Ygerna and resurrecting her actually makes Damian invincible. But you don't find that out until after an unavoidable and tedious boss fight. There are no Multiple Endings. So the story ends with your hero being stuck in limbo and Lucien, the guy who you killed in the aforementioned boss fight, is happy to inform you that the entirety of Rivellon is down the crapper because of you, and the game ends with a cutscene of Damian and Ygerna raging across the land. It also reeks of gimmickry. However, the expansion corrects most of these mistakes.
The original .hack games ended this way. After 4 games, forced grinds, and the damn virus cores that slowed the last two, you fight through the last parts of the last game after learning that the Big Bad is the game itself. Then you fight through a Multi-tiered boss fight against a monster with a crack at the top that splurts out explosive white drops before turning into a plant and then an eye. Then you'd fight Morganna? Wrong. That's when you find out the psychedelic eye was the True Final Boss. After you beat it, The World goes crazy, your party get's "Drain Heart"ed with no explanation as to what that is before Kite has his Moment of Awesome running up to the eye that refuses to die. Then Aura, the girl you've been journeying to restore this entire series, gets in the way as you're about to stab it and takes the hit, dying. Then there's some crazy lights, the eye gets destroyed, and everyone shows up in the Net Slums where they mention something about Aura having to die to be born again. Then the game ends with Kite looking at the sunset and everyone who'd just been owned is back.
Spore. After battling your way through the Grox, finding your way through the maze of stars, and more likely than not sacrificing any allies you had with you, you finally make it to the center of the galaxy. You scroll in to avoid the Grox firing upon you, since you're probably almost dead at this point, and watch as the colors of swirl around you. A deep booming voice congratulates you on how far you've come, and that few, if any other species will make it as far as you. Then this happens.
Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. It's a visual novel with Multiple Endings, and each story path puts Junpei in different groups, giving him the opportunity to find out more about their backstories, and some paths unlock the opportunity to find new paths, ultimately culminating in the True Ending. It's actually a subversion, as each of the different paths are actually being observed by the protagonist from outside normal time, and the True Ending explains all the weird inexplicable stuff that has been going on since the start of the game... except for one particular character who is referenced repeatedly; the cast finds the place where she's supposed to be hidden and finds nothing, and conclude that it's all just a myth... and then she's hitchhiking on the side of the road in the True Ending, and the game ends on that image. It is explained in the sequel. As in, it's shrugged offas a coincidence that they both look alike.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates manages to subvert this, the ending makes very little sense with the protagonist twins remaking the world to one where Galdes is stuck repeating himself for all eternity and then Chelinka dies and then little Chelinka uses two of the same crystal to make herself and Yuri kids again and their parents alive. However, once you replay the game, you see how the ending twist was somewhat foreshadowed, so early you wouldn't remember it. And after playing through the epilogue in Multiplay, you get some more closure and get a clearer picture of what the outcome of the ending actually was.
The ending of Final Fantasy VII, infamously and to the point that later works set in its universe are basically glorified Mind Screwdrivers. After Sephiroth's defeat, Holy is released, but not only fails to stop Meteor, but seemingly speeds its descent. The Lifestream then rushes towards Meteor, supposedly to help destroy it, but then the scene cuts to the shot of Aerith from the beginning, then to the credits. They are then followed by The Stinger of Red XIII and his children running toward the abandoned ruins of Midgar 500 years later, followed by the sound of children laughing. The ending is actually pretty straightforward and reasonable, it's just that the game doesn't really do a good job explaining what's happening on-screen, causing a lot of people to think the game ends very differently than it really does; there are still people who think the game originally ended with everyone dyingOne Reason Why Partly suggested by a late game scene in which Bugenhagen raised the possibility that Holy could end up wiping out humanity to save the Planet and that Square Enix retconned it. Not helping matters was the "Blind Idiot" Translation the first release had, which muddled a lot of stuff that was clearly explained in the original Japanese.
Dark Reign ends with a cutscene showing the player character receiving some unspecified energy-thing treatment by Togra, who has apparently become a god. Weird for a game with so much science in it.
Cargo! The Quest for Gravity is weird from the outset, but in a silly, lighthearted way. Once the game ends and the world is saved, though, things get confusing. Apparently the Robot Devil is going to remake the world but reward the main characters by transforming them into Fun so that they'll be around to see it? Or something like that. Granted, anyone familiar with developer Ice-Pick Lodge's previousofferings ought to have seen it coming.
Radiata Stories: Two endings; one makes sense (if leaving plot threads unresolved) and another where any number of things could have happened. There's two dragons responsible for the remaking of the world, and they take turns. However, the silver dragon has grown fond of humanity, so he doesn't want them to die; he decides to kill the gold dragon (Ridley) in order to prevent this. In the non-human ending (good), Jack and Ridley join up, defeat him, and the game ends with them together in an empty city, where presumably Ridley remade the world but left Jack alive (they seem happy, so there's that). In the Human ending (bad), the silver dragon manages to kill Ridley, and Jack, heartbroken, defeats him. What happens next is not shown, but the implication is that the world eventually depleted itself and Jack leaves Radiata, presumably forever. All in all, the endings implied more than they showed.
Usually, the Streets of Rage series had pretty straightforward endings: Mr. X is defeated, the town is safe, everyone's happy; but the last official installment in the series, 3, introduced Easy-Mode Mockery to the already ending trilogy. The ending you get on the lowest difficulty does reveal that Mr. X on the 5th stage is actually a robot. If you try a harder difficulty, but fail to save General Petrov/chief of the police, you will fight Shiva as the final boss. Right after both of these, the true Mr. X shows up, watching what happens in his hideout (like a movie in the theatre) and breaking a glass of wine... which makes perfect sense at first, but that's until you get to his real hideout, which reveals that Mr. X is in fact a Brain in a Jar. Now that makes absolutely no sense, especially when you realize he couldn't turn into that in just a couple of hours of the storyline time! And after the bad ending route's stage 7, you see him safe and sound like nothing happened. May be a sign that he really loves cloning himself that way.
In Hellsinker, the final boss can be seen as a playable ending and then simply ending with "The End".
The bonus ending from completing the extra stages is only slightly more comprehensible.
There's actually three final bosses and three endings. One of the endings is sorta comprehensible, the others... not so much. And then there's the bad ending... "YOU GOT INSANITY" indeed.
In Limbo of the Lost, Briggs is captured and his earthly guide (also known as you, the player) must save him by completing some in and of themselves confusing tasks. After you finish, Briggs is freed and proceeds to the game's ending... where he is greeted by almost the entire supporting cast of the game who decide to crown him The King of Limbo while singing a song about him. No explanation is given as to how the denizens of Limbo know each other, how they reached this location, or why Limbo has a king or why no one seems to care about the player's contributions to any of this. That said, considering how much of a Mind Screw the rest of the game is, this is only slightly weirder than the rest of the game.
Even if you win, the ending depends on your ending party. That is, you can "win" with the wrong party and have most/all of the party die (since the final boss has a final attack scripted by the story).
If you die, but have the right party, your characters just say some really strange words about the hero, and how she wasn't really a good person, not really a bad person, "she was a person." And then they walk off. If you don't have the right party, the universe explodes. It is explained why, and yet still doesn't totally make sense.
Even the best ending makes no sense, as it turns out the main hero was God all along (she's told this by God), and now has the choice while sitting in a White Void Room on whether to create the universe or not (and she can definitely choose to just become God and sit by herself for all eternity).
Digital Devil Saga: both parts manage to have one of these. The first ending is explained in the second game, and it makes sense.
At the end of Mother 3, Lucas pulls the final Needle and awakens the Dragon, which destroys the world. A giant THE END screen pops up... but if you use the D-Pad, you can walk around and talk to the various characters. Whether Lucas created a new world for his friends and family, or destroyed the world and put everyone in the afterlife is up to you to interpret.
Tir Na Nog and Dun Darach, by Gargoyle Games for the old ZX Spectrum had (for the time) incredibly huge animated sprites (56 pixels high!!) and deep, deliberately obscure gameplay, and partly thanks to the slow pace took hours and hours to finish. When you finished the first, the screen changed colour slightly a few times. When you finished the second, you entered an entirely black room with the words "ta from gg" on the wall. And. That's. It.
After killing the Enderdragon in Minecraft, you're treated to a wall of scrolling text depicting a discussion between two Sentient Cosmic Forces discussing you, the player of the game. The discussion in question implies that the entire game was All Just a Dream, life as we know it is merely an even bigger dream, the many mobs we fought in the game were the darkness in our hearts, and humanity's entire existence is a quest to understand itself.
The pessimist ending of I Miss the Sunrise is a minor example we definitely know what happened, but not any of the ramifications or if the final plan even worked as intended. Ros enters the Core and absorbs the universe into a single point of energy, thereby completing the Progenitor's plan then the game just ends.
It's complicated by the factor of the Black One claiming that it will lead to the end of all things. We have no idea which character was right, even though that's a really important distinction.
Conker's Bad Fur Day slips into this. Suddenly Don Weaso whips out a gun and shoots your girlfriend to bits. Then Ze Professor reveals that he put a xenomorph egg into an unsuspecting Panther King as his chest bursts open to reveal the hatchling, while the room they are in rockets into space. Conker is almost killed by the xenomorph until the game actually freezes, and the developer gives Conker multiple options to kill the xenomorph. Unfortunately, the developer disappears before he can have the chance to revive Berri, and Conker is crowned the new king of the land, but is miserable.
The Town with No Name, if you opt to just get on the train and leave, the main character is begged not to by a random child, who he then shoots, declaring that his name is not Shane, as the child called him. The train is then seen floating up and taking off into outer space.
Famously Limbo, after traversing the bleak eponymous underworld searching for his sister, the boy breaks into a glass and slowly floats in the darkness, until he wakes up in the same place he started his journey. He stands up and walks to the right, where he finds his sister picking flowers at the base of a tree-house; as he approaches her, she suddenly stands up startled, and then it cuts to credits.
The Spiritual Successor to Limbo by the same developers, Inside, also has a similarly bizarre ending in which the seemingly-normal boy you're playing as gets absorbed into a giant blob of flesh and arms, which you then control. From there you break out of the facility the flesh was housed in and tumble all the way down a mountain slope, coming to rest in a shaft of light on a beach - which may or may not be a real place. Cue credits.
The 'secret' ending you can get after finding and destroying all of the disco ball-like Easter Eggs also counts. You enter the vault in a cornfield and discover a room with a mind control helmet in the background, hooked up to nothing but wires. You pry a wall panel loose and disconnect a cable, and the room falls dark... and you assume the crouched, unresponsive pose of a dormant remote body. Cue fade to black.
Emelia, if you don't get the good ending. After being wrongly accused of murdering her fiance, Emelia embarks on an epic quest of revenge against the true killer, a man known only as Joker (no, not that one.) Instead, on the last leg of her mission, she comes across a church, decides out of nowhere that she wants to have a make-believe wedding with a male party member playing the part of her dead fiance, fights a giant angel/goddess monster, and then the story ends. She never finds Joker or wraps up any of the other plot threads encountered in her story.
Blue. A wizard from the Magic Kingdom, who must find and kill his twin brother Rouge, so that he can become the perfect wizard and save the kingdom from evil. After killing Rouge, Blue and Rouge merge into a super-wizard and you return to the Magic Kingdom to face the end boss. After fighting through all of the final boss's multiple forms, the screen goes black and the story ends with no more explanation than the words "Game Over". Word of God is that Blue continued fighting the boss for the rest of eternity, thereby protecting the Magic Kingdom. Lovely, but why couldn't you say that in the game?
Star Fox ordinarily has a fairly straightforward ending, unless you manage to gain access to the secret level "Out Of This Dimension", where you lose contact with General Pepper as you find yourself in a utter Mind Screw area battling paper airplanes and a giant slot machine. Then you just fly around in space (presumably forever) with the words "The End" floating just ahead of your ship (the only way out for the player is to restart the game).
In Devil's Crush, reaching 999,999,990 points will treat you to a very brief ending with a woman and a pinball... that makes no sense whatsoever.
A literal case of this happens in Xardion, a lesser-known Super NES game in which Gainax themselves had a hand. Toward the end of the game, you fight the core of the living planet, NGC-1611; a large boss with multiple forms which absolutely refuses to die. When you finally manage to beat it, you find out the true cause of its aggressive behavior toward the rest of the galaxy: The whole time, its entire reason for waging war on the other planets of the galaxy, was just to keep its creator's daughter safe from harm.
To make things all the worse, the "daughter" was never even alive to begin with. The planet had mistakenly chosen to protect a holographic image of its creator's daughter. So everything it had done up to that point had been completely and totally pointless. What a downer...
Quest Fantasy ends with a complete Mood Whiplash from So Bad, It's Good to Surprise Creepy, and then the newly-revealed antagonist proceeds to guilt trip the player and character in a long boss fight (that doesn't actually have any gameplay) involving MS Paint bleeding eyes, and then the characters die. That's just the first game. While most of the other ones aren't too crazy, the ending for the final game and thus a series as a whole involves a new villain impersonating the author of the game in order to find the credits sequence and vaporize the world. The protagonist is instructed to assist the character who was the Big Bad up until now, because this new villain's plans for the world are much, much worse. Credits roll.
Antichamber: You finally catch up to the darkness-emitting black block, as you suck it into your block gun, the entire world gets sucked into the black block first. You are left with a black block gun and an open monochrome space outside. You leave your white dome to find winding paths and towers everywhere, and falling merely loops you back where you were before you jumped. Finally you find a black dome. It opens up to reveal a floating cube and white wreckage. Shooting the black block into the cube, the wreckage floats up, forms into the Antichamber logo and sucks everything in, including itself, before everything goes white.
The Simpsons: Night of the Living Treehouse of Horror: After beating the game, you're treated to a shot of each member of the Simpson family falling out of the Treehouse, only to be abducted by an alien spaceship (presumably Kang and Kodos') before cutting back to the title screen to play again.
The Amstrad CPC version of Contra (going by its Japanese name Gryzor) had this with its ending: you charge into the lair of Red Falcon, blow the crap out of everything... then you're told that the boss's heart had a Dead Man's Switch that caused the planet to be destroyed. Note that this didn't happen in any of the other Contra/Gryzor games.
Transistor leaves a lot of things open-ended and vague, but the ending definitely takes the cake, ending with the Process stopped, but not before they've processed the entire city, erasing everyone and reverting everything to a blank slate. With control over the Transistor, Red has the ability to remake the entire city In Her Own Image, but instead opts to impale herself on the Transistor while Red's friend (who's been trapped inside it the whole game) begs her not to. Then... something happens, and the last shot is of Red's friend (with his body back) standing in a wheat field with Red (who's gotten her voice back). The most common interpretation is that Red processed herself and now lives inside the Transistor as well, though other interpretations include that Cloudbank was digital, and Red and her friend escaped to the real world.
The first playthrough ends with the Eld Witch killing Alice. After her defeat, Loue and the Wonderland inhabitants try to force Liddell to become their new Queen. The screen goes red, and then Liddell wakes upthe entire playthrough was a dream when Baba Yaga hit her on the head, but it's later revealed it was a test from Queen Alice.
The second playthrough ends with Liddell killing the Eld Witch, who is revealed to have been Anne and transforms into her as she dies. Liddell begs her to live, but it's too late, and she dissolves into ashes. Liddell works her way through the maze and is told that death isn't always the end. Then she meets the six princesses, who tell her that this was all a dream Queen Alice created on Liddell's side of reality, and it's time for her to wake up. They hope to meet Liddell in real life and bid her farewell. Liddell wakes up in her room and can't remember her dream, but she has Anne's bracelet with her. Loue is seen on the rooftop above her.
A very silly one caps off Telltale's Back to the Future: The Game. Having just changed time multiple times, Doc and Marty decide to just hang out in the lab before things get even weirder, at which point another Marty in a DeLorean from the future shows up asking for their help. Followed by another Marty in his own DeLorean. And a THIRD one, each claiming to be the true one who needs help. Marty and Doc ponder which one is the real one to help, as well as wonder why space-time is tearing apart like wet tissue paper from the paradoxes, before hopping in their own DeLorean and flying off like in the movies to deal with it later.
Pit People tries to fix the continuity with a Mind Screwdriver tries. The cats wanted to kill a God Bear, Honeyhug, by powering up the cursed hat they put on Hatty Hattington, ya see, and the ritual sacrifices of unwilling contestants in the death arena turned a simple immortality-inducing hat into a laser gun that could fire straight into orbit, nya see, and they succeeded after almost all of them were killed or left to fight each other in pure anarchy and Hatty sunk to the bottom of the ocean where his hat laser fired a direct hit into the God Bear's brain. The problem was (A) the God Bear's corpse crashed into the Earth and caused the apocalypse, leading to the wacky setting of Pit People, and (B) there was another God Bear, Honeykiss, and he's pissed. He loses it and uses Hatty as a lightsaber to destroy the entire universe, and kill everyone except himself, Horatio and Hansel. After this, he leaves the scene out of guilt. After he does, a Speckled Horse (who somehow survived the end of the universe) appears to she offers the heroes a wish. Hansel wishes for ice cream, and Horatio wishes he could go back in time to before everything went to hell. He saves his son and the king from their impending screwery, and then Honeykiss uses the Speckled Horse to bring Honeyhug back and they start raving and suddenly Honeyhug is shaking and then end credits. And none of this is explained properly.
LOST Via Domus ends with the main character witnessing the plane crash again, this from the beach at the wreckage of the plane crash, and his girlfriend whom he'd been responsible for the death of suddenly running to him from the wreckage, saying they both survived the crash.
In Pinball Quest, the game ends with Princess Ball joining the player's pinball, whereupon they perform a dance. They are then drawn into a hole by an evil giant magnet, which explodes and sends them back to the pinball realm.
The Vario ending from Savant: Ascent. The Alchemist, wearing Vario's mask, picks up Vario's mask (the one dropped by the recently defeated boss, not his own) and looks up to the sky like in the original, only for there to be two suns. One of which suddenly has Vario's mask appear on it while the sky glitches like mad with Vario's laughter being heard.
FreeSpace 2, and the series as a whole, ends with the unstoppable Shivan fleet entering Terran Space and the Terran leadership deciding to permanently destroy the two jump points connecting the Capella system to the rest of the Terran systems. And in the middle of evacuating the last remaining Terran ships to the remaining jump point, the Shivans turn the star into a supernova, destroying everything in the entire system and only their largest destroyers making a subspace jump to an unknown destination before the rest of their fleet is annihilated by the shockwave as well. The epilogue indicates that they've never been heard of again, without any indication why they spend 30 years wiping out any Terrans they could find.
Edna & Harvey: Harveys New Eyes's climax needs some explanation to begin with. The game centers around a little girl named Lilli, and her only friend is the titular Edna (the protagonist of the previous title, The Breakout, who was implied to have died at the end). At the very end, after finding her and Garret (another friend of Lilli's) trapped in a cell, Lilli refuses to free them and instead storms in on Doctor Marcel, clutching a knife. He then claims that Edna is dead, and that Lilli was hallucinating both her and Garret all along. (Mind that, given the rest of the game's events, this really doesn't hold up at all.) At this point, both of them show up in his office (whether or not this is just Sanity Slippage on Lilli's part is up for debate), pleading with her to put the knife down. The game has three endings that go from here stab Doctor Marcel, put down the knife, or just leave. No matter what you choose, none of these newfound revelations are resolved.
The Witness: The standard ending includes a flyover of the island wherein the entire thing resets and the player is returned to the starting point, as an excerpt of the Diamond Sutra is read.note The excerpt lists the ways to contemplate one's own existence in the world only, without the surrounding context provided in the link.
In The Bottom of the Well, the "true" ending the one where Alice doesn't say she thought the Framing Story dream was "wrong" somehow is also the strangest. It directly addresses the dream of the future by introducing a character who talks about Mayan prophecy artefacts, government cover-ups, and the like but we still don't really know what's going on, or why Alice is involved in it. The conclusion of Alice's recounting of the dream to her friend which has already changed as players finish and restart the game is completely different, and ends with her realising that "the Rabbit" is free and logging off without further explanation.
At the end of Call of Duty: Black Ops III, the player eats their gun to stop the AI Corvus from infecting their Direct Neural Implant. They then appear in a frozen forest, introduced by others as a sort of afterlife made possible by their DNIs, where they fight alongside Taylor against Corvus. Part of the fight involves burning giant human hearts to unlock paths through the forest. Then, the player returns to the real world and manually purges their DNI of Corvus. When asked their name by another soldier, they reply, "Taylor." Then the screen goes black. Unreadably Fast Text throughout the beginning of every mission in the game explains events in the prequel comic that ominously parallel the game events with Taylor and his squad in place of the protagonist and Dylan Stone in the place of the rogue Taylor and his squad, and in the first mission itself the game told a story about how a new recruit died of injuries or complications.
Shadow Warrior 2 ends with Kamiko decides to sacrifice her soul to the otherworld to reforge the demonic gate into a gateway after failing to restore her mutated body that was previously used by the Big BadAmeonna, and then a dragon (with Xing proclaiming "That's my girl!") appears and reaching on to the camera, apparently devouring Lo Wang.
In Mystic Messenger, failing to get on any character's path causes Yoosung to become convinced that Zen's fourth wall-leaning dream about them all being preprogrammed robots is completely true and a mysterious tattooed man to show up at his house and promise to take him away to a "paradise". The ending makes a bit more sense if you've played through all the game's routes, but it will feel completely out of the blue if you haven't.
Punch Club: The game opens with the protagonist's father being shot and killed by the mysterious man in black and he takes your father's medallion, which acts as the game's MacGuffin. After hard training and fighting your way to to the top, you head to a secret island which has Sub Zero on it for some reason and fight your brother who is considerably weaker than the last 2 guys you fought to get here. The result of this fight has no effect on anything but 2 lines of dialogue, then you confront the Man in Black and he reveals that he is your father. Yep your father's killer is your father; he traveled back in time, killed his past self, and stole the medallion so he could destroy it, all because in the original timeline the medallion was (somehow) cursed and drove you or your brother insane (he doesn't tell you which), then the insane one killed the other one and became a crimelord and somehow turned the city into an apocalyptic wasteland or something. Nothing else is explained, no one reacts, asks questions, or says anything else, then you get to walk around for a few more seconds before the credits roll and that's it. No after scene credits, and loading your save takes you back to the last fight of the championship. Also played for laughs in the the Dark Fist quest line (unlike the main story, where the ending is quite serious). It ends with the revelation that evil Mastermind is your cat who faked his own death and you stop him by telling him off, telling him not to try taking over the world, then taking him home.
Scanner Sombre ends with the protagonist realizing himself Dead All Along, the cave exit leads to a small portion of (rendered, not scanned) image of lake and the wife and the children of the protagonist spreading flowers to honor the protagonist. After this realization, the game pans through the whole explored area, back to the first camp where bags and portrait of the wife and children is shown. The game apparently Book-Ends as the scanned area gradually fall apart and you're inexplicably back to the underground tent camp where you start the game. However as you try to pick up the scanner once again, the protagonists hands suddenly shown as scanner particles, with muffled scream heard. Credits.
Although it's hinted at throughout the game, the ending of BioShock Infinite is quite bizarre compared to what precedes it: Booker kills Comstock, gains control of Songbird, fights off the Vox Populi and then things start to go south and get really weird. First Booker and Elizabeth are teleported to Rapture, thus tying together this game and its two predecessors. Also drowning Songbird in the process as it's unstoppable. After that, Elizabeth and the Luteces begin to explain the nature of the alternate dimensions and timelines, including further tying the two games (There's always a man, there's always a lighthouse, there's always a city) through the Playable Epilogue. Elizabeth helps Booker relive some of the most pivotal moments in his life (the baptism at Wounded Knee/lack thereof, Comstock stealing baby Anna, etc), in the process revealing that Booker is alternate universe Comstock, and finally, all the alternate universe Elizabeths come together to drown Booker/Comstock at Wounded Knee, thus ensuring that Comstock never existed. Considering that up to that point, the game had been a Steampunk pulp action adventure that dabbled with alternate universes as a game mechanic/storytelling device, it's quite the departure.
Ending Cardinal Sins: Judgement Silversword -Recycle edition- "normally" results in a straightforward "Thank you for playing" ending. Ending it by killing the True Final Boss, however, results in an ending where a rather dark monologue about the Seven Deadly Sins that has virtually nothing to do with the game is shown (in fluent English in a game made by a Japanese developer that doesn't seem like it was intended to be marketed to foreign audiences, no less), ending in To Be Continued, implying a hook for a sequel that doesn't exist.
The ending of the arcade and also NES Shoot'em up game Twin Eagle: Revenge Joe's Brother is pretty bizarre: After reaching the last level, the last boss of the game is an ordinary medieval castle, which you have to destroy all its defenses without any effort. Once this is done, the castle explodes in a quasi-atomic explosion, while your helicopter escapes the place without any problems. The epilogue of the game implies that, during all the game, Satan himself (or some kind of monster fighting in his name) was manipulating the terrorists and by destroying the devil or that being in person (who was probably in that castle you destroyed) the world is now a safe place once again. This is especially bizarre, since the game does not imply from the outset that there was any kind of supernatural elements. The NES version has the same ending, except replacing the devil with a generic monster. It's very likely the ending was being told from a figurative sense, however.
When the original version of Baldi's Basics in Education and Learning was granted a new hidden ending in an update, those who made the grueling effort to get said ending by getting every problem wrong were greeted with this: If you escape the school after getting every problem wrong, rather than cutting to the usual A Winner Is You ending, it cuts to a screen showing Baldi frowning and the message: "You Won! But there's room for improvement, though...Go see Baldi in his office for some tips!". At this point, though, you still have control of your character. If you turn around from the message, you can see a door labeled: "Baldi's Office". If you go through it, you'll find a skewed and distorted Baldi in the middle of the room, and a deformed image of a real life man* specifically, the game's creator Micah Mc Gonigal (no, not the Principal of the Thing) behind Baldi's desk. If you get close enough to the desk, embers begin dancing around, and in immensely distorted audio full of scratches and beeps, the man implores the player to destroy the game, insists through Suspiciously Specific Denial that the game didn't suck him into it, and that it ended up "corrupting" him upon doing so. The final shot is a close up of the man, now seemingly a ghostly, glitchy version of himself once again insisting to the player to destroy the game before the game closes. And this is apparently preferable to the normal ending where the player is presumed to have escaped with their life; think about that for a moment.
The ending of the 1 Year Birthday Bash update blows the original version's hidden ending out of the water: When you get all seven notebooks and try to escape the school, all of a sudden you end up in the cafeteria in front of a giant birthday cake while surrounded by Baldi and the rest of the characters, who seem to have thrown a surprise party for you. Baldi invites you to blow out the candle at the top of the cake. If you take the lift in front of the cake up to the candle and blow it out...suddenly the building goes dark and the characters float up to the ceiling, and things get weird with a capital W. A hallway appears in the wall. If you "walk" from the lift across thin air to it, you'll find a completely screwed up version of the school with things in places they shouldn't be, deformed and almost zombie-like Baldi clones surrounded by glitched text floating around like balloons (along with clones of some of the other characters) in the various rooms, strange pictures lining the hallways, and a bizarre (yet harmless) thing that looks like a hideously deformed version of Baldi's head roaming the halls. If you wander around long enough, you'll find a room encouraging you to count the "balloons" (i.e. the floating miscolored Baldis) along with three more notebooks that serve no real purpose (but have distorted Baldi voices playing over them). If and when you put the amounts of the balloons in correctly, a new room opens up, containing a bunch of desk chairs and a chalkboard reading: "Whoa, you are smart!". Then a bunch of red distorted Baldi clones that seem to be made up of corrupted Baldi faces begin spawning in the school and homing in on you, and continuously do so until you can no longer move, at which point the screen fades to a deranged "Thank You!" screen with equally deranged versions of the cast on it. If you find Filename2 during this sequence, he implies that not destroying the original game when you had the chance per his warning from the original versionresulted in this all happening, but still, just...what?
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon All the endings are sensible enough, up until the post-credits Stinger after nightmare mode. Zangetsu, having died at the end of Nightmare mode, wakes up in the afterlife, which is a futuristic city with what appears to be the Sumeragi building from Azure Striker Gunvolt in the background. "The End?"
The sequel is even worse. In the secret ending, Zangetsu cleaves the final boss in two...Along with the entire moon, where all of the cast currently are. Roll credits.
The 103% Completion ending in Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!. So K. Rool, who in that game had been presented as a mad scientist, had actually cast a magic spell to trap the Mother Banana Bird, who lives in the clouds. The only way to visit her is to get all of the DK coins, which makes Funky pay out on his bet and gives the Kongs his Helicopter that you use to find the last of the Banana Birds trapped in the "Simon Caves", at which point the Banana Birds magically free her and she drops a giant egg on K. Rool as he tries to escape on your Hovercraft. This ending goes to show that it's possible to have a Gainax Ending in a game that's already pretty weird, so long as you include the necessary Gainax elements of introducing a bunch of weird new elements that hadn't been mentioned that really don't fit in with the game's already established weirdness.
Ending E of NieR: Automata is fairly straightforward in concept: Pod 042 decides to risk his life to salvage the data of the main characters after their deaths to give them a second chance at life. The way this process is abstracted, however, puts a bullet right in fourth wall, as Pod 042 literally pauses the end credits to declare his intentions, and if the player agrees, they enter a final brutal Bullet Hell fight against the end credits themselves, being egged on with encouraging words from other players if they die, and even eventually getting assistance from other player ships.
The secret third ending of BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm, sometimes called the PC Ending, is utterly incomprehensible, to put it mildly. It starts when the player finds a secret passageway inside Bell Cave, leading to an area with a gigantic, headless statue. After a Pop Quiz, it tells a short story about two children who lived and played happily in a place called Buttercup Valley, until one of them cast their souls adrift by praying to God for rebirth. Suddenly, the party is transported to a weird, greyscale version of earth. This gigantic thing shows up and starts waxing philosophical about the futility of artistic expression. Then it fights you. When you beat it IF you beat it you get a brief End of Evangelion shout-out, before the scene switches to a butterfly exiting an elevator and flying down a hallway. There are some notes scattered around with factoids about a group of unknown people. At the end of the hall is a small room with a computer, and a note imploring you to turn it off. You do so, and the butterfly leaves the room. A minute later, the screen fades to an image of buttercups while sad music plays. Excuse me, what the hell?
Were it to be released, the ending of Half-Life 2 Episode Three could be this. As the game is cancelled in all but statement, the writer, leaving Valve, left a cryptic short story that was basically the entire planned plot of Episode Three with the names changed. It was corrected here by fans.
Trio the Punch: Never Forget Me... is a weird game to begin with, but its ending manages to top that. The final level is set in an ordinary park, where the player character is forced to kill regular animals while the text pops up that seems to be calling the player out. What looks like a lead-up to a commentary on killing enemies in video games stops abruptly as text appears saying "YOU FIGURED IT OUT," before the screen pans down to show giant, photo-realistic orange eyes peering at the player from the shadows. A brief cutscene shows a zoom-out where that shadow monster has lifted the platform the player character is on, before going right back down. It then cuts to the selected character talking to Master Chin, saying something depending on who was selected. The end.
Chapter 1 of Deltarune ends in a very ambiguous manner: When you defeat the Final Boss and properly leave the Dark World, Kris and Susie suddenly find themselves in the empty room at school they entered at the beginning of the game surrounded by playing cards, toys, and other knick-knacks resembling the characters they met and/or fought with. Were their adventures in the Dark World all just in their imagination and acted out with toys? But then why do Kris and Susie vividly remember their experiences and the characters they met in the Dark World like they really happened and/or existed? Plus, in the Playable Epilogue, you have the ability to ask various NPCs questions about things Kris supposedly has no reason to know about; specifically about the events of the previous game (such as asking Undyne about Alphys), which confuses the daylights out of the other characters and it's implied that Kris is not acting like themselves. Finally, The Stinger shows Kris suddenly leaving their bed in the middle of the night, tearing their SOUL right out of their chest, spontaneously producing a knife out of thin air and giving a Slasher Smile at the camera, looking a lot like Chara while doing so (something which is implied has happened before given the stains around the birdcage the SOUL ends up in). Time will tell if these (along with other unanswered/unresolved questions like Ralsei's possible relation to Asriel) will be answered or resolved in any future installments of the game.
Metal Black ends after a spectacularly trippy fight against an Eldritch Abomination responsible for the Nemesis aliens which were sucking the Earth dry... the end ultimately has Earth inexplicably cut in half, cut to the image of the pilot of your spaceship in a fetal position, and a broken English narration that imply the whole story is All Just a Dream... Averted if you lose at the boss fight however, you got a more conventional ending which has the humanity breaks the conditional treaty with the aliens and strikes against the aliens by sending 20000 of the same spaceship as you have.
The obscure Famicom game "JJ: Tobidase Daisakusen Part II" is a serious, albeit surrealist, sci fi shoot-em up in which a marine-type blasts his way through multiple alien worlds, battling giant demonic worm monsters. The ending, however, abruptly shifts to a cutesy chibi style, and consists of nothing but chibi versions of the worm monsters slowly telling the main character portions of a cheat code while he reacts with funny faces.
In My Friend Pedro, After the vigilante resisting Pedro's final influence to kill himself, the Final Boss is a Battle in the Center of the Mind against Pedro. After imaginary Pedro is defeated, the vigilante unmask himself... to reveal that he has Pedro's smiley face. Credits.
The ending to the first episode of the original Doom was like this intentionally. After you beat the barons of hell, you enter a teleporter that takes you to a pitch black room that's full of demons and has a damaging floor. Once your health gets under 11%, you seemingly die and the game cuts to a ending exposition crawl which lampshades how ridiculous this ending is after all you've been through. Most likely, this was meant as a sort of Sequel Hook variant as the shareware version only has the first episode to encourage people to buy the whole game to find out what happens to their character.
The extremely rare Israeli MS-DOS game Beasts of Horror (מפלצות של אימה) has an example of this that was discovered when Twitch streamer Macaw45 became the first known player to beat the game. After defeating a series of monsters in a cave, the player character's last opponent is a tiny man riding a tiny unicorn. Once he trounces them, our hero finally makes it to the other end of the cave and sees a woman tied up outside. He rescues her (with creepy hand gestures and facial expression) and they embrace, and our hero gives a thumbs-up and smile while the word "סוף" ("End") appears. They are then crushed by a giant egg that hatches into an eagle as tall as the screen. Roll credits.
Ending of Speed Power Gunbike, which started as a game about fighting rogue robots on your cool transforming Gunbike, then comforting those responsible for the outcome of those events that lead to machines raising up against mankind, and after destroying the supercomputer behind it all, the final moments and last stage of the game has your guiding your character, now drifting in space, naked, going on a spiritual voyage beyond the Universe and eventually find Heaven. To say this came out of left field despite coming from the same company that later brought you Mega Man Zero and Azure Striker Gunvolt, especially for those that don't speak Japanese, would be a gross understatement.
Bomb Chicken: It turns out that the "blue hot sauce" BFC is famous for is actually the blood of the final boss — a horrifyingly mutated chicken that also lays bombs. After defeating the boss, the entire island where BFC is headquartered explodes, but Bomb Chicken survives by landing on some driftwood in the ocean. Then Bomb Chicken suddenly sprouts a growth on her body to her horror, and the screen goes black. The implication seems to be that she's destined to become another version of the final boss. Things sure took a turn for the weird in the last three levels...
Mega Man X6 is an odd game in this regard, as you spend much of the game battling the enigmatic Nightmare Phenomenon and getting vague hints as to what it might actually be, teasing little bits of dialogue that Alia might be more involved with it than she lets on, and you get the feeling that the ending will explain everything and the whole game will make sense in hindsight. It doesn't. The Nightmare Phenomenon is never explained beyond what you learn about it in the first level and it just sort of goes away, Alia and Gate's relationship is left as vague as possible and not explored beyond "they worked together once and possibly liked one another", and yet the ending comes off as incredibly confusing because the dialogue seems to imply that everything made perfect sense and everything was wrapped up nicely with Zero (if he survived) going to sleep for a hundred years for very vague reasons. All in all, it is very telling that the creators wanted the X series to end with Mega Man X5 and that X6 was a hard case of Post-Script Season, as Mega Man X7 largely ignores the game aside from acknowledging that the Nightmare Phenomenon was a thing that happened.
Crash Twinsanity ends with Crash, Cortex, and Nina returning to their own dimension and Cortex activating the Psychetron with the intention of sending Crash to a dimension where Cortex will never see him again, only for it to malfunction and teleport Cortex into Crash's brain, surrounded by clones of Crash doing his signature dance.
The Cow Ending is one on purpose. If the party defeats Gigyas by dealing him damage rather than by using PSI Empower, Singing, or simply losing to his final phase, the screen suddenly cuts out and plays out a nonsensical cutscene which repeats over and over again with more and more words being replaced with Cow until all that's there is COW.
The Paradox Ending happens if you have Niiue learn Maria's Song through his Magicant by using a Knowledge Stone, then sing to Gigyas after his first phase. The boss fight stops suddenly, with a new pathway available through the Devil's Machine. The party descends further into Giegue's mind, with another door in front of them after descending a flight of steps. They then fight psychic swirls defending a baby Giegue called the G-Core. These swirls are implied to somehow be the protagonists of Earthbound Beginnings based off their names, color coding, and the objects they drop when defeated. Beating them causes the G-Core to self-destructand Magicant collapses into nothing around the heroes. Niiue is unable to tell whether the world survives beyond Magicant or if the wisps of it are all that remain. He muses they shouldn't have done that, but thanks Alinivar for his efforts nonetheless.