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A Winner Is You

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Because it's worth going through a Nintendo Hard adventure twice for this, right?note 

"One paragraph? This game's ending is one paragraph? I played through this whole fucking game for ONE PARAGRAPH!?"

Let's say you have been through this incredibly long and Nintendo Hard game in one sitting (because you can't save and don't have passwords), until you finally finish the game and defeat the last, incredibly hard boss. The moment of truth has come, you wait for the epic, satisfying ending and you get...

"CONGLATURATION !!!" on a black background, in perfect silence, and nothing more (except maybe the credits, which are equally unentertaining, and arguably worse since you often can't skip them but want to stick around to see if anything comes after them).

What? That's it?

Hey, you should be grateful. Some games just show you the same screen that introduces each level, except the name of the level is "you win" and the game goes back to the title screen afterwards. If you're really unlucky, all you get is the same Game Over screen you'd get for dying.

The urge to throw the game out the window is overwhelming, to say the least.

This is most likely to happen with older Fighting Games, Arcade Games and the like. In the olden days, when Excuse Plots were the norm, it was natural for developers to put more effort into programming the game itself than designing an elaborate ending. Memory limitations also worked against satisfying endings; adding just a couple of kilobytes of ROM to a console game was once a luxury, and old computer game developers tended to cut corners to prevent game data from exceeding available RAM space and requiring players to go back and load more of the game from a slow cassette tape.

Early consoles had less space for flashy graphics and animations, so only endings that are bad even by the standards of their technology (a previously seen screen, bad spelling, etc.) should be considered true examples of this trope. In some more recent games, this only happens on Easy mode, so there is a cool ending to reward you. For later consoles and platforms which had more space for impressive endings, A Winner Is You endings indicate not only a job poorly done, but the programmers' (or producers') laziness for not having considered how to end the game.

A cousin to, if not the most extreme form of, the Cosmetic Award. Compare to No Ending for a similar lack of closure or a very abrupt ending in other contexts. See also Disappointing Last Level. Even more frustrating is if, when you lose, a game with this kind of ending gives you a Have a Nice Death or an It's a Wonderful Failure screen. A few of these will also throw in The End... Or Is It? while they're at it. Another tactic is to display the player's meaningless score in an attempt to add purpose to the ending screen. Also, a rushed programming job often affects what happens afterwards, leading the player to the stock Game Over screen or back to level one afterwards, instead of back to the title screen.

Unrelated to This Loser Is You.

The website contains examples of ending from hundreds of Commodore 64 games, and each one is rated; those which are rated 4 or lower are typically examples of this (not even including the "No Ending" section).

As this is an Ending Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.

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Video Game examples:

  • Completing Arkistas Ring for the NES has Christine in a text only message thanking the player for saving Arkista's Ring, followed by the player's stats.
  • BIONICLE: The Game offers a short outro, which quickly cuts to the credits rolling over the loading screen. Said outro is also anticlimactic, confusing, and makes no sense if you haven't watched the DVD movie on which it was based... and actually makes less sense if you have, because the game's ending directly contradicts the movie's.
  • Indie title Dark Matter ends with a black screen with text, immediately after entering a certain door in the endgame. Apparently, this is due to a failed Kickstarter leaving them unable to fund a full ending.
  • Dizzy: As per the page quote, completing Dizzy: the Ultimate Cartoon Adventure starts some autoscrolling text which reads:
If you wander off-screen, or get killed by walking to where Zaks was, then the screen pauses and the final tune plays, but you don't get to see the end of the text scroll by either.
  • Drakengard's Ending E depicts a bizarre event (leading directly into the continuity of NieR) in which the gameplay suddenly shifts into an extremely hard rhythm game in the real world, that then ends with the sudden death of the lead character from a fighter jet missile, with no context whatsoever. Other endings then get a small bit of verse giving some context of what just happened, whereas Ending E just gets:
    Thank you for playing!

  • If you manage to defeat Jason in the Friday the 13th game for the NES, you're rewarded with the same picture of Jason sitting down you've already seen twice, and the text "You have finally managed to defeat Jason... But is he really dead? We're not telling!! END..." Much better is the losing screen, which, right in the midst of Nintendo's Never Say "Die" period, declared "You and your friends are dead."
  • Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver was, in its time, famous for a disappointing ending consisting of not much more than a screen of very cryptic monologue delivered by a voice belonging to a character who hasn't been seen. It makes sense in the context of the series, but this is hardly rewarding. This cliffhanger is due to time constraints; the developers had to cut a solid chunk out of the game to meet the release date. Some versions of the game contain voice files hinting at what this chunk would have contained; those bits did make it (in very modified form) into the later games. Interestingly enough, a lot of the cut content can be accessed via cheat codes. Of course, they did the same thing in Soul Reaver 2: Abrupt ending, cryptic phrase, roll credits. Fortunately, Defiance averts this.
  • The Legend of Zelda has Zelda thank Link for saving Hyrule ("THANKS LINK, YOU'RE THE HERO OF HYRULE"), the credits roll, and then you unlock the much harder second quest. Beating the second quest has the same ending, with the post credits now showing you how many times you died and that "You have an amazing power and wisdom."
  • Beating the original Metroid rewards you with a just short paragraph of text applauding your efforts. Well, that and the reveal that Samus Is a Girl...
  • Complete the Boss Rush in Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon and your reward is a still shot of Impact over a cheesy '80s-style background and the word "Congratulations!" The Japanese version has a slightly more interesting picture of the dev team in chibi form. Why it was changed is anybody's guess.
  • Ninjabread Man: If you beat the game, the screen goes black and you're taken back to the title screen.
  • Planet 404 plays with this, twice, in neither case during the actual ending. First, you can get this just for beating a mission, and second, when you reach Planet 404, a plain message appears thanking you for playing, but after a moment Jethro announces that the game isn't over yet, and the game continues.
  • Takeshi's Challenge, being the product of a Trolling Creator, naturally has one. Specifically, it's a picture of Takeshi's face and the lone word "Amazing!" If you wait long enough for something else to happen, he chastises you for taking the game so seriously.
  • The first Tomb Raider game rewards the player with a very short FMV of Lara's ship leaving, presumably going home now that it's all over.
  • X-Perts shows your characters' escape pod jettisoning from the underwater base, the base exploding... and then you're dumped back to the opening Sega logo and title screen without even a credits roll.
  • ZanZarah: The Hidden Portal: After beating the Final Boss, you are treated to a short cutscene congratulating you on defeating the evil and showing faeries flooding into our world, after which the credits roll.

    Action Game 
  • Reach the end of LJN's Back To The Future game for the NES, and you are awarded with a "Congratulations, Marty!" text screen and that's it.
  • Brain Dead 13 has this one: After watching the explosion in Dr. Neurosis' castle, Lance says, "Cool! Back to work!" then makes an Air Guitar of victory and drives away in his truck before the camera pans overhead to a bat that has awoken from its slumber and flies off.
  • After finally finishing level 80, Bugs Bunny in Crazy Castle for the Game Boy (released in a different guise as Mickey Mouse) has Bugs walking slowly into the middle of the screen with the message "Congraturations! You are good player!" and his standard "level won" animation.
  • In Challenger, the Famicom successor to Stop the Express, saving the princess (yes, there is one) gets you a "CONGRATULATIONS!" banner. Then the next round begins and the game loops back to the "Stop the Express" stage.
  • The first Contra has an exploding island and then says simply "CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE DESTROYED THE VILE RED FALCON AND SAVED THE UNIVERSE. CONSIDER YOURSELF A HERO." The unanswered question is "Why should I have to consider myself a hero? Doesn't anyone else?"
  • Cyber Chaser: Beat Episode 3 and you only get a screen with the hero shooting a mech and the text "CONGRATULATIONS! All Episodes Completed!"
  • Good as it is, Capcom's Darkwing Duck NES game has an extremely unsatisfying ending. After getting through F.O.W.L.'s floating fortress and defeating the Final Boss, you're rewarded with a couple of screens of text, followed by a brief cinema scene of Darkwing driving along a highway. He hits a rock and crashes, "THE END" appears, the theme song starts playing, and... that's it.
  • If you end up being the last player or team alive in a Battle Royale Game, expect nothing more than a simple victory message that congratulates you for going all the way, before you get booted back to the lobby.
  • Devil May Cry 5 has a secret ending that is obtained by beating the Hopeless Boss Fight at the beginning of the game. Said ending consists of a brief congratulatory message, followed by the credits running by the screen in about five seconds.
  • Die Hard on the NES: The endings say "YOU WIN. GAME OVER." As opposed to "YOU LOSE. GAME OVER." A normal ending is here. All endings are now listed here.
  • Die Hard Trilogy on the Playstation features such endings for its three games; completing the first game for example prompts the game to say "WELL DONE" and then plays an extremely brief (as in a few seconds) FMV of John limping away from Nakatomi Plaza.
  • Doom Troopers has these screens as the player's reward for beating the game.
  • Dragon's Lair 2: Time Warp has this in the ending, with the caption saying, "Congratulations, you are a winner!"
  • Evolva: After you destroy the Parasite's bomb and defeat the two bosses guarding it, the final cutscene just shows the Parasite agonizing and the spaceship leaving the planet.
  • Exolon: "Congratulations! You have proven your combat abilities to the full." This ending screen reuses the graphical frame of the bonus screen at the end of every previous level.
  • In the Commodore 64 game Feud, finally defeating Leanoric gives you the message "YOUR FEUD IS NOW OVER, YOUR EXISTENCE IS NOW TERMINATED, YOUR RATING IS x%". You get the same message if you lose, but with a lower rating — with the implication that "your existence is terminated" because the game is no longer playable, not because your character died. Spectrum players at least got the message "THE FEUD IS OVER! YOU ARE VICTORIOUS!"
  • The ending for Gomola Speed for the PC Engine consists with the following text on a black screen, followed by the credits:
  • Game Over for the Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum presents nothing but a black Game Over screen upon completion.
  • Ghostbusters for the NES, a game which is generally considered near-unwinnable, ends with the Engrish message "Conglaturation!!! You have completed a great game. And prooved the justice of our culture. Now go and rest our heroes!" This actually fixed one spelling error ("grate" for "great") that was in the ending text of the Japanese version — or, more precisely, what was supposed to be the ending text in the Japanese version, which has a bug that selects the wrong character table and displays no message other than "りり" (which Makes Just as Much Sense in Context whether or not you know any Japanese).
  • Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius ends with Jimmy receiving congratulations and applause from the supporting cast.
  • Jimmy Neutron vs. Jimmy Negatron ends with a box saying "YOU WIN. PRESS ANY KEY TO CONTINUE."
  • The Legend of Kage makes you fight over the course of four seasons to save a Princess. Your reward? A brief ending scene that ends with "However..." and the Princess getting kidnapped again. If you rescue Kiri-hime three times, then you do get a real ending, but the game loops after that.
  • Little Red Hood for NES has a very basic ending:
    "Oh! My dear Little Red Hood! Thank you for your coming!"
  • The ending of Loaded is a very short FMV showing the final boss's body melting away and his brain escaping.
  • When Meikyuujou Hydra ends, it simply tells you how long you took to complete the game and then rolls the credits, which ends with the hero hopping happily with his new crown at the The End message.
  • Jim Henson's Muppet Adventure: Chaos at the Carnival is a Nintendo Hard NES game with a very unsatisfying ending — after you, as Kermit the Frog, finally rescue Miss Piggy from Dr. Grump, all that happens is Miss Piggy floating down to Kermit and saying, "Oh thank you! Oh thank you! But it sure took you long enough!" Getting chastised for winning the game is really something else. At least it's in-character for Miss Piggy.
  • The ending of the Commodore 64 Pink Panther game is just a still image of the title character sunning himself on a "Far Side" Island, with no way to return to the title screen or do anything but reboot. As if that's not bad enough, a bug in the code allows the player to go straight to the island without beating the game first.
  • Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue for N64: If you somehow manage to stay awake to play through one level, you are greeted by a uninspired "YAY!".
  • Raid 2020: You only get one black and white screen of text upon beating the game. At least it's more than just "Congratulations."
  • Rambo on NES messes up the iconic ending to First Blood Part II. In the film Trautman asks Rambo, "How will you live, John?" and Rambo answers, "Day by day." The game changes Trautman's question to "What will you do now?" but Rambo still gives the same answer.
  • The arcade game The Three Stooges in Brides Is Brides has this ending screen.
  • Stop The Express, the old ZX Spectrum classic by Hudson Soft, finishes with the message "CONGRATURATION! YOU SUCSESS!" and a shot of your guy in the front of the train. Then it loops back to the start, presumably for more SUCSESSful action.
  • The ending in the arcade version of Strider is nothing special, but in the home computer ports by U.S. Gold it was replaced by a cop-out ending in which the whole game is revealed to be a training simulation, just because the programmers couldn't fit the final boss battle into the ports.
  • After completing the surprisingly fun Tarzan video game for PlayStation, you're treated to a brief clip from the movie, a screen that says "Congratulations", and a voice-over from a Rosie O'Donnell sound-alike congratulating you. Yep, that's it.
  • Time Gal ends with a short scene where Reika gets a medal for saving the world, after which she blows a kiss at the player, with the screen saying, "VICTORY!"
  • Trio the Punch ends by declaring "YOU FIGURED IT OUT!", before scrolling down to reveal a giant pair of bloodshot eyes, and then pulling back to reveal that they belong to a giant shadowy cube thing, which escapes underground. Cue two lines of incomprehensible dialogue between the main character and Mr. Chin, the player walking for a little bit before striking their victory pose, and then "THE END". It somehow manages to simultaneously be A Winner Is You and a Gainax Ending.
  • The Ultimate Stuntman: The ending is just one scene with a few lines of text which is no different than the between-level screens.
  • The Uncanny X-Men for the NES ends with this message displayed on a black screen: "Congratulations!!! You have saved the world from Magneto and his evil mutants. Humanity is safe... For now." And that's the good ending.
  • Wayne's World on the NES and Game Boy: The end screen is just Wayne's head, a thumbs-up, and the word "Excellent!" on a black background.

    Adventure Game 
  • Most Asterix Licensed Games end with at least a static image of an ancient Gaulish feast. A few early Asterix games didn't show even that much:
    • In Asterix and the Magic Cauldron, the ending is just a message saying "BY TOUATIS YOU HAVE DONE IT." The developers of this game couldn't even spell "Toutatis" correctly.
    • Astérix et la Potion Magique, when you complete it, cuts to a black screen with the word "GAGNE!!" ("WIN!!")
  • The Flash-based freeware BIONICLE game Mata Nui Online Game II is a twofold disappointment. After spending hours, if not days training for a tournament, an abrupt cutscene informs you that you've won off-screen. Turns out the game was a tie-in to an animated movie all along, and you have to watch the film to see how your character had won. After a final challenge of trekking across the island to gather special crystals, the game cuts again to an out-of-context and awkwardly silent recreation of a movie scene, followed by a haphazard congratulatory speech that's too fast to read, spoils the movie's ending, and sets up a completely new location that was never hinted at in the game, rendering the entire gameplay meaningless. You never learn the secret of the crystals (since they don't appear in the movie) and your training never pays off. And the new location's name is misspelled to boot.
  • The ending of Bloodwings: Pumpkinhead's Revenge is, at least according to the Spoony One, conclusive proof that the developers never intended or expected anyone to beat their Moon Logic Puzzle-laden piece of crap, and instead just slapped on some B-roll footage (showing an actor in a Pumpkinhead costume and a pair of sneakers dancing around like an idiot for about seven seconds) as a final insult to whatever player managed to crawl through their impossible mess of a game. Even worse is the alternate ending you get for foregoing the moon logic puzzle and using brute force to beat the final boss: The guy just flips you off.
  • Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge parodies this trope by including a "cheat code" (Ctrl-W) which allows you to instantly win the game. If you use it, you just get a screen which says "You Win!" followed by the credits.
  • The Curse of Monkey Island, however, plays it straight. There isn't any real denouement to the plot after defeating LeChuck. As soon as Guybrush springs the final trap on him, the game instantly cuts away to a thirty-second scene without any dialogue, that consists of Guybrush and Elaine heading off to their honeymoon, while their friends are waving goodbye.
  • Nicholas' Weird Adventure 2:
    • Parodied along with It's Hard, So It Sucks!: Nicholas finds an arcade game which involves your One-Hit-Point Wonder being almost instantly killed by some squiggly monster, returning "G'OVER." and aggravating Nicholas. After finding a control room to change the game's difficulty, he returns to and easily clears the arcade game, returning "CONGRENDULATES!" and resulting in this gem:
    Nicholas: I won, but "CONGRENDULATES!"? Worst. Ending message. Ever.
    • Completing the Weird Adventure shows you another ending screen with CONGRENDULATES, but this time the walrus spirit is giving you a thumbs-up.
  • In Night Trap, all you get for winning the game is Kelly congratulating you on your success. However, if you get a perfect game (all bad guys captured, all innocents saved,) you get to trap her right afterward.
  • Invoked and then defied in one possible branching path of The Stanley Parable. The narrator, having lost track of the story, gives up and flashes a "YOU WIN" across the screen. He immediately realizes how unsatisfying this is as an "ending", and restarts the game with some new changes to avoid this trope.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: Plucky's Big Adventure, after having you spend the game helping Plucky Duck find the parts to convert his bicycle into a time machine so he can travel back to the previous day and finish the homework he forgot to do, ends with a short cutscene of Plucky crashing his bicycle into a wall, then Buster Bunny saying that time travel isn't actually possible, followed by the credits. While such a "Shaggy Dog" Story ending is something that might have worked well for an episode of the TV series, having it come after a game full of Moon Logic Puzzles is unsatisfying, to say the least. It's worse if you've seen the episode the game is based on, as Plucky's time machine did work there, which might cause the player to assume that putting it together is just the first level rather than taking up the entire game.
  • The Town with No Name ends with the protagonist realizing he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and offering to drink with Evil Eb after killing his entire gang. "THE END" appears on-screen, then the game smashes back to the main menu without warning.

    Beat 'em Up 
  • The Neo Geo game based on 8th Man: After beating the completely random final boss, you get a five-second cutscene (which is just the intro played in reverse) and a screen saying "Congratulation!".
  • Bébé's Kids for the SNES ends with two images: one of the theme park going up in smoke with the text "FUNWORLD! FUNWORLD!", and one of Peewee meddling with a wire with the text "PEEWEE, DON'T !!!" before rolling the credits. No congratulatory message. The game is awful enough as it is, so it should come as no surprise that the ending is unsatisfying.
  • Burning Fight cuts from the Final Boss straight to the credits, with no real ending for any of the characters.
  • Beat D. D. Crew and you get a pithy dying speech from the Final Boss, then a showcase of the main characters, and then the end. There's not even a credits roll!
  • Dynamite Dux ends with a screen where the Damsel in Distress is freed reading "CONGRATULATIONS!" and little else before the credits.
  • The Hong Kong Phooey game released on the Amiga and other home computers is both criminally short and has a terrible ending. After mowing down a load of bad guys you reach the final (and only) boss... if you can call him that. He's a giant guy holding a rocket launcher who just stands there doing nothing, not even moving. If you try to attack him or even just touch him, the screen goes black and shows a picture of Spot the cat (Hong Kong Phooey's sidekick from the cartoon) along with this message: "As usual Hong Kong Phooey messes things up but luckily Spot is there to save the day. Congratulations.". That's the end of the game. You don't even get to fight the end boss!
  • Kabuki Z is a mercilessly hard game with no checkpoints, where dying will send you to the start of each level, even if you're fighting a boss. So if you manage to beat it, you're rewarded by... a screen that says "GAME END". Before sending you back to the first stage.
  • Kung Fu Chivalry ends with the portrait of the game's boss characters from the intro, but with their faces bloodied, battered, and bandaged, and one of them Flipping the Bird at the player, plus the text "The End" in the top left corner.
  • Nekketsu Kouha Kunio Kun:
    • After defeating the final boss in the Japanese arcade version, Kunio walks out of the building and shakes Hiroshi's hand while the other students cheer for him. The American version of the arcade game (Renegade) simply had the hero kissing his girlfriend who was previously kidnapped.
    • On the Famicom, Hiroshi comes crying out of the room in which he was held captive and gives Kunio a handshake for all his troubles; the credits roll after the scene. The American release just had the credits rolling the moment you deal the defeating blow to the final boss.
  • While Scott Pilgrim mostly averts this, by having a different ending for every character, finishing with DLC-exclusive Wallace Wells just gives you a picture of him in a chair. This is one of the reasons that most people were disappointed with the Wallace Wells DLC (the other being that he's just a re-skinned Stephen Stills).
  • Beating Venom Spider Man Separation Anxiety nets you a picture of Carnage and text saying "GAME COMPLETED".
  • The PS2 and PSP versions of Spider-Man: Web of Shadows ends with a screen that says: "You have unslaved Manhattan! You have unlocked the Game Plus Feature." And that's all.
  • Super Double Dragon lacks any actual plot and features a generic text-only ending before the credits after the defeating the final boss. The Japanese version doesn't even have that; you just get the credits.
  • The Teen Titans game for PlayStation 2: When you finish you are merely asked "Wanna play again?", and the characters float there until you make a choice. If you say no, you get to sit through bland credits. No skipping.
  • The Tick on SNES and Genesis has a total of 44 levels of monotonous gameplay, levels that go on far too long and endless waves of enemies. If you play all the way to the final level and end up defeating Thrakkozog, what do you get? The Tick yells "Spooooon!", and then you see the exact same "THE END" title card that you see if you run out of lives and continues, followed by the credits. See for yourself.
  • In Toxic Crusaders for the Genesis, the final boss gets away after defeat. The screen fades to black and then the two lines "CONGRATULATIONS" "YOU HAVE WON" appear, spinning around the franchise's logo at an uncomfortably fast pace. Before every level, the level's name is shown in the exact same way.

    Card Game 
  • Plants vs. Zombies: Heroes has absolutely no real ending for both the plant and zombie missions. If you beat the final mission on any side or even both sides, you are then greeted with no gems or packs, no credit sequence, not even a comic sequence as seen much earlier; you are simply sent back to the mission menu and are then forced to repeat the same final mission over and over until you reset your progress completely. In previous versions before silver coinsnote  were removed, then your only reward was your 100 coins for each final mission boss defeated if you somehow didn't obtain all your Basic - Common cards beforehand.

    Casino Game 
  • Slot machines are typically configured to lock themselves (a situation usually referred to as a "handpay") when a win over a certain amount (in the United States, usually $1,200) is hit, so that an attendant can be summoned and prepare the requisite tax forms for the winning amount, or otherwise verify the win. While the actual win itself can be an exciting moment, the aftermath often goes downhill from there depending on the manufacturer, usually resulting in a generic system dialog box in the machine's firmware (such as WMS just using a blue and yellow box). Aristocrat machines are even worse — sometimes showing "You have won a JACKPOT $(amount)" in 12-point font at the bottom of the screen (although some show a similar message in a box on a grayed out screen); if you're not paying attention, you might have thought the machine had gone into tilt mode or something. Everi at least managed to do this better, with a more celebratory screen featuring its 3D-animated mascot (a faceless "money man" with a top hat made of coins, throwing confetti).

    Driving Game 
  • If you actually manage to play through a race in the video game trainwreck that is Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing, you're rewarded with a shot of a trophy and the phrase "YOU'RE WINNER !" Not that it's hard to win, since among other things your opponent doesn't move (and if you're lucky, the game will screw up and give you the win as soon as you start the race). Later patched releases (and its successor Midnight Race Club Supercharged) are slightly better: "YOU WIN !" is displayed instead.
  • Blast Corps has a proper ending with a Playable Epilogue, but players can keep going. After finishing all the missions in outer space, they're told, "Now do it faster!" Now all the truck escort stages are timed, and medals are given based on said times. After getting a gold medal on all the levels (including the racing levels), players are told, "Now go for Platinum!" This opens up Platinum medals, which have even more ridiculous times to beat than the gold medals. But finally, after all that, the true reward for 100% completion of Blast Corps presents itself: the standard periodic "Congratulations on your promotion!" message, with your final rank: YOU CAN STOP NOW.
  • FFX Runner: After getting past the first part of the game twice and going past a very long part near the end of the game, you get the title screen, with a message saying "congratulations! you win!".
  • Formula One '97 has two endings, one for Arcade Mode and one for Grand Prix Mode. The Arcade mode ending is simply the credits for the game with a weird visual feedback effect. Grand Prix Mode treats you, after an 18-race season (one more than in real life), to half of the opening FMV with a generic "congratulations" message from the commentator.
  • All of the Forza games usually gave you nothing more and nothing less of a mostly two or three line congratulary message or voice (and, in the Motorsport games, podium and trophy) upon finishing major championship events, along with the credit bonus and unlockables.
  • Full Auto 2's ending consists of a short cutscene showing the final boss blowing up, after which it skips directly to the credits.
  • Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors has the infamous "Desert Bus" minigame. The goal is to drive from Tucson, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada at 45mph. This takes about 8 hours, real time. The bus veers slightly to the right as well, so you can't simply tape down a button and leave it. If you go off the road, you are towed back to Tucson, also in real time. Your reward for actually making it to Las Vegas? You earn a single point, and are given the option to drive back to Tucson to earn another point.
  • Ford Racing: Off Road: Despite being a brutally Nintendo Hard game, you get nothing, not even a simple congraturation screen after beating the Career Mode and Tournament Mode.
  • Pimp My Ride: Street Racing: You get nothing by unlocking all cars and parts, both the Championship and Arcade modes along with the Championship challenges consisting of beating the lap time, collecting all 20 scrilla coins and completing the first lap without damaging the car and unlocking every trophy aside for a congratulation after unlocking the last trophy.
  • If you win a race in Supra Mayro Kratt, all you get is a camera zoom-in of your character racing, and the text "player 1 has winned". Heck, you are still vulnerable to the computer beating you!
  • Beating the (fairly lengthy) career mode in Wreckfest gets you an achievement and a message saying "Congratulations! You have completed the career!". Outside of the unlocks you acquired along the way, that's it.

    Edutainment Game 
  • Two of the last examples for the NES are Mario Is Missing! and Mario's Time Machine. The latter requires only marginally more effort.

    Fighting Game 
  • Clayfighter, an extremely difficult fighting game where the computer cheats ruthlessly on all difficulty settings, ends with just the credits, except on Hard difficulty, where it had a short all-text screen describing what happened to your character after the fight. C2: Judgement Clay carried on this tradition. It wasn't until Clayfighter 63 1/3 that it showed you your character's ending on Normal level.
  • There are no endings in Dead or Alive; it jumps right to the credits after the character's victory pose. The second game fixed this... except for Kasumi (Fade to White, and a brief post-credits scene where we just hear her saying she wants to go home), which is strange given her status as face of the franchise.
  • Justice League Task Force has the same ending for every character in Story Mode. The Battle Mode is even worse, with a mere "Congratulations!" and that's all.
  • Killing Zone for the PlayStation ends with a black screen with "Thank You For Playing," the credits and (in a larger font) "CONGRATULATIONS!"
  • Beat Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter with a Secret Character and what do you get? "Congratulations! You've defeated the game with a secret character!". The same thing is true for Marvel vs. Capcom, although the Capcom secret characters (Lilith-mode Morrigan, Shadow Lady and Roll) get their own endings.
  • In the earliest versions of Mortal Kombat 4, there were no endings. Instead, you just got text on a black screen that said "Great Job!" if you beat the game.
  • Nidhogg has "Game Complete" and the time it took you to do so when you complete single player.
  • The story endings of Ougon Musou Kyouku are pretty rewarding and entertaining, but if you select a team that doesn't have a story ending, you get a generic "Congratulations!" This is somewhat mitigated by displaying and unlocking a work of guest art or Fan Art.
  • Persona 4: Arena: Most characters in Arcade Mode have a brief ending cutscene that ends in a cliffhanger. This is not the case with Labrys, Shadow Labrys, and Elizabeth, who don't fit into the game's story the same way as the other characters. Instead, their "endings" consists of their portrait, the word "Congratulations", and the character giving a single voiced line.
  • The Trope Namer is Pro Wrestling, where you receive the same Engrish conglaturatory message after winning a match. The actual "You Win!" screen consists of a picture of two trophies and your fighter (with one title belt on his waist, and another in his hand), and the message "Congratulations! You are V.W.A. V.W.F. Champion!", while the music repeats endlessly.
  • Played with in Wan-Fu's ending, in Samurai Shodown II. After haughtily proclaiming he was unsatisfied with the Big Bad's challenge, he downright stares at the player, then admonishes them for expecting his story to just "end" like that.
  • Soul Series:
    • In Soulcalibur III, after beating the Nintendo Hard final level in Chronicles of the Sword, complete with a difficult Final Boss, gets you the following:
      Emperor died. The Evil Sword and the Holy Sword disappeared into darkness. The empire collapsed, and the people were left only with devastated lands and the memories of the terrible war. The people, however, eventually forgot the hardships. They rebuilt the raised (sic) village and sowed new seeds upon the destroyed fields. Then, by the fire side, they told the tales—the tales of the great ones who spilt their blood upon those lands...
    • Custom characters in Soulcalibur IV get four different endings, all of them fairly underwhelming. They show your character either obtaining Soul Edge, Soul Calibur, both swords, or destroying them both along with text claiming your fighter will "go down in history for centuries."
  • Street Fighter:
    • The Japanese versions of the Street Fighter EX games actually have text-only endings for each of the characters. For some reason, Arika/Capcom didn't bother to translate them for the international versions (even though they're only two or three paragraphs long each), so they just took them out completely.
    • Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha has short, plotless FMV cutscenes of the characters just posing or fighting to the same ending music, though there are still some awesome moments (Guile riding on top of a fighter jet in mid-air, Cracker Jack uppercutting a speeding train and then walking away from the ensuing explosion) and some outright bizarre moments (Allen fighting a pair of statues that suddenly come to life, Skullomania suddenly growing several stories tall and getting into a Kaiju fight, Bison performing gymnastics and posing on the shoulders of two half-naked grappling wrestlers).
    • The original Street Fighter has Sagat say, "You've outlasted the best. You are now the strongest street fighter in the world!" before the credits roll.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • In the original Super Smash Bros. 64 the only reward you get for beating the game (after a long, although enjoyable credit list) is a picture of your character with a loud voice yelling "CONGRATULATIONS!" Granted, the screen is different per character, but it's still pretty lackluster. Japanese players didn't even get that much. What's more, beating the game on the hardest difficulty changes a single audio sample: "Wow! Incredible!!" Future Smash Bros. games give you trophies for beating different modes on the hardest difficulty, along with the familiar "Wow! Incredible!" voice clip.
    • The "Tourney Mode" in Brawl and the fourth game also does this; upon winning, an icon of your character appears with a voice clip saying "The Champion is... <Chosen Character>."
  • Taekwon-Do for the Super Famicom has cutscenes in its story mode after you win every tournament. However, after you win the last match of story mode, the game simply fades to black and rolls the credits. One would think the last match beginning with your opponent kicking the referee into the scoreboard and trying to beat you to a pulp would have merited a proper ending.
  • Ta-o Taido has the same ending for all of the characters - a spinning mask telling you that the secret of the titular ancient art is to "find yourself".
  • In the Genesis version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters, the "Tournament" mode requires the player to win 88 consecutive rounds against various computer-controlled characters. If the player manages to win all 88 rounds without losing, they are rewarded for their hard work with the word "CONGRATULATIONS!!" in bland white text and are returned to the game's main menu. This is quite unsatisfying, especially when the game is already difficult to beat.
  • The Arcade mode of Tekken 7 just ends with a brief cutscene of the final boss being defeated, credits, then the Game Over screen. Quite disappointing, considering the series was well known for having extremely well-produced and hilariously over-the-top endings.
  • The Super Famicom game based on Tomorrow's Joe gives you one for winning against the Final Boss. If you want the iconic ending, you need to time out.
  • This trope is the ending of War Gods in a nutshell. If you complete the game with any character, a screen of text indicates that you have to prevent the invasion and destruction of the world by Exor. Despite the fact that the fighters are seeking more power by claiming the shards of the Ore.
  • WWF No Mercy: Every title has its own set of fights that you can take multiple paths through. Finishing any path for a title showed your character celebrating, and a short crawl of text depending on which title. Fair enough. This trope comes into play for 100% Completion; taking all of the paths for any of the titles takes quite a while, and many of them have sadistic fights (there are paths where you have to throw an easy match, just so you can take the path to a ridiculous handicap match). Your reward for completing every fight available for a title? The exact same text crawl. If you decide to play the title once more and just take any old path, then you'll realize that there was a glitch with the "100%ed this title" flag, and now you'll finally get to witness the celebration you have earned... a slightly different text crawl from before, depending on the title.

    First Person Shooter 
  • Complete all 40+ stages of Deadhunt and you get a "Congratulations" popup before the game banishes you back to the title screen.
  • The Sega 32X port of the original Doom stands out as having probably the worst ending in the franchise. After defeating the last level — which doesn't even have a final boss fight, or anything else to make it stand out — the game abruptly cuts to the credits, which scroll over a bland wooden-textured background as a terrible arrangement of "Sweet Little Dead Bunny" plays, followed by the message "ID Software salutes you! The horrors of hell could not kill you. Their most cunning traps were no match for you. You have proven yourself the best of all! Congratulations!" and the Enemy Roll Call (severely cut down from the PC version). Unless you beat the game using cheats and/or the level select at the main menu (which a lot of players did, seeing how it had no save feature), in which case the credits roll as normal and then the game crashes to... a DOS prompt. On a 32X.
    • The Atari Jaguar and 3DO ports of the first game have the same underwhelming ending text as the 32X port, but they at least have better-looking text and backgrounds, and aren't accompanied by the horrible music of the 32X ending. And there are no DOS prompts in sight.
    • A minor case with the SNES port, which does keep the same ending text as the PC version, but cuts off before the ending screen. While it's somewhat understandable that Nintendo wouldn't want a picture of a decapitated bunny on the port, given how they had only recently started allowing uncensored Mortal Kombat games on their system, it leaves the ending sequence feeling noticeably incomplete.
  • Isle of the Dead, a cryptic mess of an FPS and a strong contender for the worst one of all time, ends with nothing more than a blink-and-you'll-miss-it animation of the main character escaping the island on a life raft.
  • In the Jurassic Park SNES game for the SNES, after hours of slogging through some genuinely hard FPS and top-down gaming, you finally make it to the end only to be given a simple screen stating "Congratulations, you have escaped Jurassic Park". Not to mention that the ending sequence before that is exactly the same as the intro... in reverse!
  • Left 4 Dead and its sequel ends each of the campaign with the survivor escaping with whatever the rescue vehicle is, and the game closes into "The survivors have escaped!" or if there's one or more who didn't make it, "In memory of" followed by the player name of the killed survivors. Followed by the game results.
  • The ending CD soundtrack for the Amiga version of Liberation: Captive II. For a game which takes weeks or months to complete, the old man is underwhelming in his praise: "Exposing the corruption took courage. You have done well!"
  • Medal of Honor: Allied Assault just says "The End" and rolls the credits, no victory cutscene, nada.
  • Both Nexuiz and its Spiritual Successor Xonotic end with a congratulatory screen and a medal. That's it.
  • PAYDAY: The Heist and its sequel PAYDAY 2 ends each of the mission with a result screen. At least the second game has voice-only narration by the contractor congratulating your efforts. The sequel also had two actual endings patched into the game at the end of 2018 (five years after the game launched!) that are unlocked once you beat the final heist.
  • Quake III: Arena end with the final opponent Xaero turning to statue for no reason at all, followed by credits.
  • No matter what you did or didn't do in Rage (2011), the ending was always the same: a generic minute long FMV of a satellite deploying. To say fans were "unhappy" would be like saying "TV Tropes will have a mild effect on your life".
  • In Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts and Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2, a sniper is guided through a series of assassination missions by a controller. The final mission in both games has a higher value target, but is otherwise not very different from the preceding missions. After the final mission, the controller in Contracts gives the shooter a short speech about their shadowy employer's motives, and the controller in Contracts 2 tells the shooter his real name. Roll credits!
  • SWAT 4 after the mission where you have to fight terrorists in a genetics lab, the game just jump to credits. The game has no plot, just several series of unconnected, but increasingly dangerous situations, so might as well as having No Ending.
  • The ending to Unreal Tournament 2004 along with its predecessor 2003 is kind of the same as Nexuiz and Xonotic above, just a trophy room and congratulary words.

    Four X 
  • Civilization V, unlike its predecessors which feature endgame cinematics of various qualities, offers you a single picture and three sentences to congratulate you at the end of the days/weeks/months long game. Fortunately, it does offer a button for those who just want to continue playing. Both developers and players are amused that the "continue playing" button reads "!"
    Before some patches months after release, it didn't even have the replay map, which shows how the civilizations expanded over time. Even after adding the map, the feature is tucked away in the upper-right corner of the victory window, and claimed territory on the map makes water tiles indistinguishable from land.
  • Endless Space originally featured a popup that says "You are victorious ! Would you like to continue playing?" followed by a pie chart showing the final numbers (Planets, research, ships, etc). And then back to the main menu. Disappointing, considering how gorgeous the opening intro for each faction is. The endings were later updated, with a different picture and text depending on the condition - a Diplomacy Victory shows your leader standing at a podium in a United Nations-esque building, for example - along with the addition of race-unique defeat screens showing bombed -ut homeworlds.

  • Pirate original games developed for now-defunct systems such as the NES and original Game Boy deserve special mention. Suffice to say a single screen with a misspelled congratulatory message is the norm, while some don't even bother with that and just unceremoniously boot you back to the title screen.
    • One of the more infamous examples is the port of Contra Spirits to the NES, which does actually attempt to recreate the original SNES game's ending, but in place of the original's credits it is captioned "THEND".
    • Especially bad with Super Game, who usually opted for No Ending instead. Ironically, most of their games were surprisingly good aside from that issue.
    • Super Boy, an MSX version of Super Mario Bros. from Korean bootleg publisher Zemina, has a "To Be Continued" message at the end of World 4-4, followed by the game repeating from World 1-1. Super Boy II does the same, except that the message is "END." Super Boy III has an actual ending screen.
    • Somari's ending is effectively the last screen from the bad ending of Sonic the Hedgehog, where Robotnik juggles the Chaos Emeralds; the only differences are that the message now reads "The End, I Will Be Back" and you have to reset the game to continue playing it. This is especially infuriating because the Chaos Emeralds are nowhere else to be found in the game.
    • In the Famicom pirate port of Earthworm Jim 2 by Shin-Shin Electronics, the "ending" is really just a "The End" message with the cows from the password screen added. It's better than the Super Game version, which doesn't even attempt to have an ending.
  • There's an entire website devoted to endings (many of which are examples of this trope) on the Sinclair ZX Spectrum computer.
  • There's one for Commodore 64, too.
  • The Jurassic Park SNES example above is just one out of many. When you beat a JP game, you usually get a small, often lazy cutscene of the hero escaping the dinosaurs' island in a boat or helicopter. And maybe you'll see some dialogue. The Lost World: Jurassic Park was a little more creative — for 100% Completion the player gets a Completion Mockery clip of Jeff Goldblum recommending they should "Go outside!" and get a life!
  • Clearing the final five laps in Raindrop: The Battle Of Connecting Hallway causes the weather to clear up, allowing the player to run around as they please until quitting to the high score screen. Their score will have a "!" mark as proof of clearing the game.
    The weather is clearing up now!
    You are outstanding!

    Idle Game 
  • FE000000: All you get for accomplishing all 16 goals are the words "You have won the game! Congratulations!"

    Light Gun Game 
  • While it does have Multiple Endings, the SNES/Super Scope game Metal Combat still manages to rub some salt on determined players. It gives rewards beating the first three difficulties: two cheat codes and a piece of really good playing advice, respectively. The reward for beating the hardest difficulty is a "Congratulations" splash screen with Super-Deformed drawings of the good guys and their Humongous Mecha.
  • Yoshi's Safari has a simple "you saved the kingdom, returned the MacGuffins, and went back home, followed by "The End". Waiting around for a few moments has Yoshi reveal a secret code that, when entered, lets you play the game on a harder difficulty. However, beating the game on the harder difficulty gets you the same ending, though the people you save do acknowledge that you saved them twice.

    Maze Game 
  • At the end of Booby Kids for the NES, the player character stands in the wreckage of the Final Boss for a moment, then it cuts to "The End" on a black screen.
  • Pac-Man:
    • The original arcade game technically has no end, unless you count a glitch in the programming that corrupts the screen at level 256. The frustration experienced by exhausted Pac-Man players is accurately summed up in this flash cartoon by James Jouni.
    • The 3D sequel Pac-Mania (or at least the Acorn Archimedes port of the same) eventually just comes up with a message which tells the user there are no more levels.
  • The Tower of Druaga: "Congraturations!! Now you save Ki and the adventure is over," followed by a short list of credits. It really doesn't help that this comes at the end of one of the hardest and most cryptic arcade games of its time, possibly ever. The PC Engine remake, with greater attention to the storyline in general, has a longer ending.

  • Parodied like so many other things by Kingdom of Loathing. Your reward for retrieving the Holy Macguffin after a long and arduous quest? A ticker-tape parade. Your reward for defeating the Naughty Sorceress? You get thanked by the Council of Loathing, then told you have to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence because the monsters hate you that much and won't leave till you do.
    Some of the Game Grid parody-minigames make fun of this trope. Beating Dungeon Fist earns you the message "YOU HAVE ESCAPED THE DUNGEON! CONGRATULATION!" and beating The Fighters Of Fighting gives you "Game Over! You Win!" (instead of "Game Over! You Lose!"). Beating Space Trip gives you the exact same explosion image you get when your ship and/or the galaxy is destroyed, with a helpful note explaining that this explosion is the Big Bad getting annihilated.
    The game's tagline ("An Adventurer is You") is a reference to the Trope Namer.

    Party Game 
  • In the very Mario-Party-esque Shrek Super Party, players compete to accumulate 500 "precious drops" before their opponents. When someone wins, the text at the top of the bug-swapping minigame (which appears at the end of each "epic battle" minigame) changes to "And the winner is... [winning character]!" After this anticlimax, it fades to black and goes straight back to the title screen. If a human player wins—which can be surprisingly difficult—they get to "make a wish," though the wish is predetermined by the character they chose.
  • Vegas Stakes on the SNES does this once you reach your goal of $10 million in winnings. Your companion asks you what you plan to do with the money. After entering a short phrase on what your plan is, the credits roll and on the black screen after that, it shows some text saying "You will (do whatever) with the money". Then again, it IS a gambling game where you can't do anything else except grind for more money in the games.

    Platform Game 
  • There are several games from the mid to late '80s (like The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros. and Ghosts 'n Goblins) that "reward" you by unceremoniously kicking you back to the start to play a Second Quest." If you're lucky, you get an ending screen that's slightly better than the one you got the first time you played through. (Although it's no less likely to be free of garbled Engrish.) This is called a "second loop" and is popular in Shoot Em Ups.
    • When Super Mario Bros. was repackaged for the SNES as part of Super Mario All-Stars, you do get to see the Princess kissing Mario (or Luigi). If you defeat the slightly harder difficulty, the text is different.
    • If you make it all the way to the end of Ghosts 'n Goblins while picking up a necessary weapon and beat the boss, Ghosts 'n Goblins, you get rewarded by having to play the whole game over again, with the message that "This room is an illusion and is a trap devisut by Satan". If you manage to do that, all you get is a brief scene of Arthur reuniting with the princess and the following text: "Congraturation. This story is happy end. Thank you. Being the wise and courageour knight that you are you feel strongth welling in your body. Return to starting point. Challenge again!" Yes, those spelling and grammar mistakes were in the game. To top it all off, the very last screen after beating the game just says "Player 1 Game Over."
      • The arcade version of Ghosts 'n Goblins has the same endings, but is slightly better in the spelling and grammar department—"Devisut" is spelled correctly as "Devised" in the first ending, and for the second ending "Congraturation" is spelled "Congratulation" (still no plural, though) and "Courageour" is spelled correctly as "Courageous". "Strongth" is still present, though.

  • In The Adventures of Lomax, you defeat the Big Bad and he falls down in a bunch of explosions. Then, The Old Wise Lorock pops in and tells you that you saved Lemmingland. Bye! Roll credits.
  • Aladdin (Virgin Games) has two bonus levels where you control Abu the monkey. When you lose those levels you get a black screen with the text "Nice try". When you win you get the same thing: "Nice try". The game's ending is not much better: after Jafar is defeated, Aladdin and Jasmine are shown on a magic carpet ride, then doing a Foot Popping clinch in which they freeze as "The End" appears and the credits roll. The other Aladdin Licensed Games have endings like the movie's.
  • Parodied in The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures. Clearing a stage nets you the text "STAGE CLEAR! CONGLATURATION !!", a reference to the infamous Ghostbusters NES game which the AVGN reviewed.
  • Ariel The Little Mermaid for the Sega Genesis ends with a screen showing Ariel, Triton, Flounder and Sebastian posing in front of a rainbow, with the message: "Congratulations! You have defeated Ursula!"
  • In Atlantis no Nazo, after playing through the Final Zone and getting the crystal, the enemies stop firing, the dude who you had to rescue comes to life and starts laughing, and the word "CONGRATULATION" is splayed over the middle of the screen. The game doesn't actually end, though. The prototype Dolled-Up Installment localization, Super Pitfall II, did pluralize the word.
  • Athena has no exciting ending to reward players who complete this Nintendo Hard game. In the NES port, after defeating the Final Boss Dante, it cuts to outside her castle, where Athena stands still as the sky changes. The Arcade Game instead displays a block of text:
  • The NES adaptation of Beetlejuice rewards the player for completing eight absurdly difficult levels with roughly thirty seconds of the title character's head and some written text in which he talks about how great he is.
  • After a handful of ludicrously deadly platforming levels in The Blues Brothers, you get a black screen with the title of the game and this, all in generic monospace font:
  • Bubble Bobble has the text "CONGRATULATIONS! BUT THIS IS NOT A TRUE ENDING! COME HERE WITH YOUR FRIENDS! YOU WILL BE IMPRESSED BY THE TRUTH OF THIS STORY !! NEVER FORGET YOUR FRIEND !" Considering the game is insanely long as it is, just getting this in 1-P mode is hard enough, and then you have to do it again with a second player. (The NES version at the very least has a password system so it's a bit more forgiving, but on the other end it has two equally long worlds—which you still need to do with two players.)
    • And then, after completion you "zap" to a random earlier level. When you then die, the Levelometer on the scoreboard shows your progress to be to whatever level you died on, forgetting all about the fact that you made it to (and completed) level 100!
  • Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind has a particularly infuriating one: "I win! I win! Well, I guess you helped."
  • Captain Dynamo: "WELL DONE DYNAMO! YOU HAVE SAVED THE WORLD." The only real graphics on this end screen are copies of the player sprite.
  • Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow's Julius Mode was a first in Castlevania in that it's the first extra mode to actually have a story. specifically, it's an Alternate Universe where Soma Cruz, your main game protagonist has succumbed to the dark side and became Dracula's Successor, and you take control of Julius Belmont, Yoko Belnades, and Alucard in order to defeat him. You expect this story to be followed through to the end, right? Nope. After you beat the final boss, after going through the game with no healing potions, all you get is the standard Castlevania ending of the heroes watching the castle collapse, and then roll credits.
  • The plot of Chakan: The Forever Man has the title character cursed with immortality as a result of defeating Death in a fight. He can only rest in peace after he's destroyed all supernatural evil, and so the game has him fight through Nintendo Hard stages in order to rid the world of evil. After beating the game, he is still not allowed to die, as Death informs him that there is still plenty of evil all across the universe, leading to one last boss battle. Lose, and you merely get the message "Rest will come another day." Win, and you are rewarded with the sight of an hourglass that never empties. Which makes sense, as you've just killed Death, but that doesn't make it any less rage-worthy. If you wait on the hourglass screen for a long time (a long, long, long, looooooong time,) eventually the words "Not the end" will appear on the screen before kicking you back to the title screen.
  • Chuck Rock has you playing as a caveman on a quest to save his love. You go against Everything Trying to Kill You in Platform Hell and your only reward for beating the game is Chuck wanting to go on a vacation after all this, which is followed by the credits and then a Game Over screen.
  • Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time: Collecting all of the Gems unlocks an amusing secret ending, featuring things like Ripper Roo taxidermizing N. Brio and Oxide becoming an energy drink mascot. The 106% ending, which requires every Gem, Platinum Relic, N. Sanely Perfect Relic, and breaking all the boxes in the Flashback Tape levels (bear in mind that these are all pretty tall orders by themselves), is only a 20-second cutscene that shows Uka-Uka alive and well.
  • Data Design Interactive's shovelware games are even worse in regard to this trope: they merely send you back to the title screen immediately upon completion of the last stage.
  • The ending for the Dennis the Menace Licensed Game for the SNES depicts Switchblade Sam being hauled away in a wagon pulled by Ruff while Dennis, Joey, Margaret, and Mr. Wilson stand under "THE END".
  • Complete the NES version of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, and all you get is a single screen of text reading "Congratulations, you have found true love and won the heart of Belle" below a picture of Prince Adam and his subjects as humans. Hooray...? The SNES version has an ending like the movie's.
  • The ending of Donkey Kong Land consists of nothing but "Congratulations." followed by the credits. Yep, not even an exclamation mark.
  • The overly long, Nintendo Hard, Everything Trying to Kill You Dr Franken 2 on the Game Boy ends with a message saying "Well done Franky, you've saved the chateau!" followed by a full screen picture of Frankie. We could have looked on the game box for a bigger picture in colour, thank you very much.
  • The NES Felix the Cat video game is a great game, but the ending is very underwhelming. What's your reward for beating Professor? You get to see Felix free the tied-up Kitty Kat, and get the message "Congratulations! At last FELIX! You rescued Kitty!" and Kitty saying "I love you, Felix!" and seeing Felix fly Kitty back home as THE END pops up—you don't even get to see any credits, and pressing start sends you back to the title screen. The Game Boy version is even worse—Felix just walks right up to Kitty, and the game cuts to a bland THE END screen that you can't exit out of.
  • Flood for Amiga and Atari ST may be a particularly nasty example: After the last level, the player is treated to a very short scene of the protagonist successfully escaping with his life, only to be killed by a passing car. Click here for images.
  • In the Game Boy Color version of Gex: Enter the Gecko, where you have to collect everything in order to reach the final battle, you are only given the credits. This is a far cry from the PlayStation and Nintendo 64 versions, which have an awesome cut scene at the end.
    • In Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko, completing a secret level gives you "COMPLETEB".
  • Ghostbusters (1990) has a very anticlimatic ending where after you beat the Final Boss, the Ghostbusters put the blue stone in the tablet to undo the damage they accidentally caused previously, which had opened up a huge hole in the middle of New York City and unleashed very powerful ghosts and demons. All you use is your chosen character stating that the hole has closed up and it's followed by a blue screen of poorly drawn citizens celebrating for the Ghostbusters saving the day.
  • The Great Giana Sisters, once you reach the crystal in the final level, the game immediately shows a black screen, with the text: "Giana get up. The sun has frightened off the night." Which doesn't even make sense unless you know the game's backstory.
  • The online Flash game Give Up has an amazingly quick ending to a frustratingly hard game. Actually completing the game says "VICTORY. I DIDN'T THINK YOU COULD MAKE IT. YOU MUST BE INCREDIBLY STUBBORN. CONGRATULATIONS." Then it cuts to the credits. Yup, you work hard for half an hour at least, literally paint the walls red, and wreck your arrow keys, just for it to call you stubborn. That said, the game warns you right from the title screen that it's a game of failure and regret, so regretting the experience is to be expected.
  • There's a game for the TI-83 titled Iceclimbers (not to be confused with the NES game) by downloading a program called Mirage. You get a bland screen that reads "A Winner is You. Victoly!"
  • Jiggly Zone has a disturbing take on this trope. After getting the Diamond of Fate, your character becomes the Ultimate JIGGLER and...cut to a black screen with text declaring that you destroyed the universe to make way for a new one.
  • Beating Jumper and Jumper Three rewards you with a screen counting all your deaths throughout the game. Jumper Two's ending on the other hand is... strange, to say the least.
  • The U.S. release of Karnov for the NES ends with a simple white text on a black screen reading "Congratulations!! The End". Apparently, they couldn't even be bothered to Bowdlerise the original plot or the ending, where Karnov is rewarded for defeating the Big Bad by becoming the successor to God.
  • In The Killing Game Show, complete all the levels, and you get a text-only screen proclaiming: "CONGRATULATIONS—You have completed The Killing Game Show! It looks like the Price WAS Right after all!" Never mind the price; shouldn't even a deliberately sadistic game show offer a more substantial prize for winning? (The Sega Genesis version, Fatal Rewind, uses a somewhat different ending message, but the presentation is the same.)
  • Kirby 64 features a variant on this - it has a very difficult Boss Rush, in which you must defeat all 7 of the game's bosses in a row without any form of healing, and you were forbidden to absorb any enemies' powers. Bear in mind that 6 hits will kill you. Normally, after beating this, you simply get a screen showing Kirby's friends throwing him happily into the air with the word "Congratulations!" under the image. But if you beat it without taking a single hit, you get a screen showing Kirby wearing various body parts of the defeated bosses, as though it were his personal trophy, with the word "Perfect!" under the image.
  • The Krion Conquest, when translated from the Japanese game Magical Doropie, had every plot sequence in the game (except the intro) removed. This includes the ending: when you deal the final hit on the last boss, the screen freezes and the words "You win !! Congratulations !" scroll over it, followed by the credits.
  • Good as it is, the 2005 freeware PC game La-Mulana has a rather disappointing ending. Defeat the final boss, and all you get is a short cutscene of Lemeza escaping from the ruins, followed by a single "CONGRATULATIONS!" Cue the end credits, where Lemeza's father steals the ruins' treasure off him that he worked so hard to earn and runs away. Considering that the game is very difficult, the pay-off is disappointing. Well, at least they had the courtesy to spell "congratulations" correctly, and the credits' music is good.
  • Lampshaded in the online game Lee-Lee's Quest. You beat the boss, the text "The End" appears on the black screen as the narrator briefly states that Lee-Lee got his "girl" back. Credits start rolling... and that's when Lee-Lee starts complaining about the lack of a proper ending.
  • Master Chu and the Drunkard Hu: It's just Master Chu floating in front of a "THE END" graphic.
  • This is how the not-by-Capcom Mega Man (Classic) PC games end. To rub salt on the wound, it's even the same ending screen in both games.
  • Metrocross on the C64 also simply shows "Game Over"
  • Mickey Mousecapade: After the Final Boss, Mickey and Minnie exit the castle into a wooded area, and the mystery friend is... Alice! The End.
  • The NES game Milon's Secret Castle ends with a "Thank you!" As the game has no Mercy Invincibility, which allows you to be killed quite quickly when cornered, and a million Guide Dang Its around every corner, this can hardly be said to be anywhere near satisfying. The Game Boy version of the game does actually end with cutscenes depicting a Link-esque Milon marrying the princess, who has an uncanny resemblance appearance-wise to Zelda.
  • When you think you beat the Monster in My Pocket NES game, you have to face the final boss again. When you defeat him, the two player characters trade a few lines of dialogue and then walk away. Made even worse in single-player mode, where you only get the dialogue of the monster you were playing as—meaning it's entirely likely that the denouement speech will consist solely of the word "Yeah..."
  • Ninja-kun: Ashura no Shou ends with this oddly spelled message in variously colored text on a black background:
  • The ending of Nuts & Milk has the words "Perfect!" and "Congratulations!" framing Yogurt and Milk standing with a Heart Symbol between them (as they do at the end of every stage).
  • Like it's maze game counterpart, Pac-Land has no ending, looping back to Trip 5 except harder once you complete Trip 8 and so-on. The TurboGrafx-16 port, however, adds an ending after you complete Trip 8, but it's just the game congradulating you before cutting to the cast of the game waving at the player before it desplays "The End".
  • The NES game Fox's Peter Pan & the Pirates, while a decent game representation of the cartoon series, features one of the most pathetic game endings ever. After defeating the final boss, Captain Hook, the player is "rewarded" with a full-screen image of Peter and the words "I win. It's so much fun being Peter Pan."
  • Parodied by Pogostuck, a ridiculously awkward frustration-platformer similar to Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy. If you make it to the end, after a short scene of celebrating with a group of your fellow cave-humanoids, the credits open with "CONGLATURATION !!! YOU HAVE COMPLETED A GREAT GAME. AND PROOVED THE JUSTICE OF OUR CULTURE. NOW GO AND REST OUR HEROES !"
  • After you beat Rabbids Go Home for the first time, an optional goal will appear on the level select screen, which requires your pile to reach 31,750 ft. This pretty much requires every collectible thing to reach, which is easier said than done in regards to the brutal last levels and evolving hub world that can lock you out of collecting everything in it. But if you go to the length of collecting everything and reach the new goal on the level select screen, the only thing that happens is that the greyed-out star next to it starts spinning.
  • Rayman:
    • In the first game, after you beat the final boss, you're "treated" to 10 seconds of fireworks, a narration declaring "You've done it! You've saved the world!" and then the credits. That's it.
    • In Rayman Origins, once you beat the true last level (no easy feat, mind you), all you get is the final boss revealing that it's actually a Nymph. She thanks you and says she had a bad dream before winking at the camera as it irises out. Uh...yay?
  • Roland in the Caves is a version of Bugaboo the Flea for the Amstrad CPC. After the flea-like Roland has jumped around the platforms in the cave, evaded the pterodactyl, escaped, fallen in again, evaded the carnivorous plants, escaped, fallen in again, etc, he makes his final leap to freedom. The player is rewarded with the congratulatory message "DATA EXHAUSTED".
  • The NES The Adventures Of Rocky And Bullwinkle game is another case of a glorified Game Over screen. Wherein losing the game results in a large "YOU LOSE!", beating the game results in a large "YOU WIN!" Same graphics and everything.
  • The Master System version of Shinobi is perhaps the most egregious offender of all time. Fighting one's way through the game requires a lot of skill and not a little luck. The original ending from arcade version, which reveals the identity of the Big Bad to be Joe Musashi's former mentor, is replaced by a "Game Over" screen in the Master System version. The same screen you get for losing the game.
  • Shovel Knight manages to have satisfactory endings for its chapters, but the same cannot be said for a minigame in the Specter of Torment chapter where you have to climb to the top of a tower. The climb goes on and on, there are many tough obstacles, and all the while an electric field is rising below you which spells instant failure if you touch it. If you manage to get to the top, your big reward is... 1700 gold the first completion, 200 gold for each recompletion. You can earn far more gold during the climb to the top than from the reward for actually climbing to the top, especially since you keep the gold earned during the climb even if you fail.
  • The Simpsons games:
    • If you beat The Simpsons: Bart vs. the World without collecting all the special Krusty items you just get Krusty telling you "Great work there, Barto... But it's too bad you didn't find all the unique Krusty items. We had a special surprise planned for you. Oh, well. Don't blame me — You didn't do it!" If you do complete the game with all the special items, you just get a cheap animation of Bart throwing cream pies at Burns and Smithers on Krusty's show. And that's just the NES version. The Sega Master System and Game Gear versions do away with the Multiple Endings, meaning all you get after defeating the final boss is a screen reading "Well done. You have defeated the evil Mr. Burns."
    • The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants isn't much better—you get some text saying you saved Springfield and dialog from the alien invaders as they inexplicably decide to make Bart an intergalactic hero, followed by a shot of the family visiting Mount Rushmore, which now includes a Bart head.
  • The obscure 2018 indie game Sockman—a Spiritual Successor to Manic Miner for the ZX Spectrum—ends with a single screen of the collectible garments flying around Domin "Sockman" Dominguez, along with tallies of the number of deaths, jumps, coins, and garments collected, as well as the total player time. Given that it's a Spiritual Successor to a game released in the 1980s, this may or may not be intentional, but it still manages to be memorable via the closing song, a parody of "Mr. Sandman" which was also present in the trailer.
    "Mr. Sockman, bring me a sock
    Start to run and go down and below
    If you feel old, that's the spirit we reach for
    So you can beat those levels with three fingers!

    Sockman, you're so alone
    Don't have nobody, I'm your only hope
    Please, bring me that sock I dreamed
    Mr. Sockman, jump and be thrilled!"

  • The ending of Somari is more-or-less the same as the "bad" ending from the Sonic the Hedgehog, but with no credits beforehand: just Eggman juggling the Chaos Emeralds with the text "THE END" and "I WILL BE BACK". (As mentioned before, there is no good ending, since there are no Chaos Emeralds to collect in Somari.)
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Clearing the original game without collecting all 6 Chaos Emeralds gives you the ending with Sonic tapping his foot and frowning at the player at the Green Hill Zone, and Robotnik juggling the remaining emeralds with the text "Try Again" after the closing credits. If you collect all 6 Chaos Emeralds, the only differences are that Sonic creates flowers with the emeralds, and Robotnik instead jumps up and down in a tantrum on the word "End" after the credits. No "Congratulations", not even a "Congraturation". Just "End".
    • Subverted in the Sega Master System and Game Gear versions of Sonic 2. Regardless of whether you get the good ending or the bad ending, the game still slaps you in the face afterwards with the Game Over screen, complete with its losing jingle. Not exactly a great reward for beating the game.
    • Sonic Heroes has an extra hard mode unlockable after several requirements are met. The only reward for beating it is a "Congratulations" message and a brief generic picture of Team Sonic. The same picture that appears on the title screen and the game's case.
    • In Knuckles Chaotix, the good ending is just the title screen with Sonic and Tails making a cameo.
    • A mobile phone ripoff of Sonic, Supersonix, ends with just this text: "Congratulations. The sky is blue, water is wet and you've won the game. You can feel proud, for once again man has defeated machine."
    • Sonic Labyrinth for the Game Gear: beat the game without collecting all the Chaos Emeralds, and you are greeted with "CONGRATULATIONS! ALL ZONES CLEAR!! BUT IT IS NOT PERFECT!" What is your reward for beating the game with all the emeralds? The ending sequence is recoloured and the text instead says "IT IS PERFECT! WONDERFUL!!!"
  • The Amstrad CPC version of the fiendish Mastertronic game Soul of a Robot, sequel to Nonterraqueous, is legendarily poor. The aim of the game is to destroy a "master computer" which controls your planet - but when you enter the final room, instead of a boss fight you're treated to a tiny, crude line drawing of what appears to be a typewriter. Flashed on the screen for roughly two seconds before the inevitable message "Congratulations! Now go and play the original Nonterraqueous". Thanks a bunch.
  • Space Station Silicon Valley, a Nintendo 64 puzzle game in which the main character takes control of various robotic animals, ends with one of the characters explaining they don't have the budget for a good ending and just plays the credits. This may be (partly) justified as an instruction to get the rest of the treasures, presumably hinting that then the main character will have enough money for the proper ending. The fact that a bug in one of the levels makes this impossible, though, means that the "didn't have the budget" ending is the only one that can be found anyway.
  • Neither version of Spanky's Quest has any real ending sequence after defeating the Final Boss. The SNES version shows clips of Boss Battles in between the credits, while the Game Boy version instead shows Spanky soaring through a flickering starfield.
  • Speedy Eggbert: After meandering through many long levels flipping switches, avoiding crashes using provided jetpacks and overcoming everything trying to get you to blast yourself to kingdom come, all you end up with is a screen showing Blupi celebrating by the side of a treasure chest, accompanied by the text "Yes. Great!" This is the same screen you get after beating any custom level, and which can easily can be viewed in the game's graphics folders. The sequel (which has even more levels) takes this to new extremes, however; apart from all the aforementioned things still being true, the picture displayed after winning is shown on the game's CD case, as well as the official website.
  • In Spelunker (NES version), the end screen has the protagonist dancing on a pile of glittering treasures, under the words:
  • Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels features a slightly different ending than the original game. For starters, Peach's sprite has been improved, the ending text is different, and the background will turn blue with the seven Mushroom Retainers from the previous Worlds surrounding Mario and Peach. Unfortunately, when the game was remade for the SNES and GBC, they simply used the same ending they used in the remake for the original Super Mario Bros.. Compare the Disk System version's ending with the ending in the SNES and GBC versions. This ending is also used for the arcade cabinet remake Vs. Super Mario Bros., and the Japan-exclusive All Night Nippon Super Mario Bros.
  • The Super Mario Bros. fangame "Invictus" has a bonus level where you have to do a preposterous number of shell-jumps (over a hundred; doing just one takes quite a bit of practice) in a row to reach the top of a gigantic tower. If you pull this off, all you'll find at the summit is a small room with a text-block that says "Oof! Uhh, nice job... I guess."
  • Super Pitfall for the NES has Multiple Endings. The normal ending is a short text screen saying, "Congratulations! You completed the adventure of the lost caverns. Please try another world." The perfect ending gives almost the same message, except the words "perfect" and "perfectly" are added.
  • The TaleSpin Licensed Game for the Sega Genesis rewards the player(s) for completing eight worlds with Sega Hard sidescrolling, cargo crate collecting, Shoot 'Em Up and boss battle elements with a shot of Baloo and Kit in front of Higher For Hire above the words, "Congratulations! You win the city contract" as balloons fly into the sky.
  • In the Game Boy version of Taz-Mania (Sunsoft), beating the final boss earns you a still of Taz with congratulations on beating the zoo keeper. Then it tells you that you scored zero points (because it's impossible to score any points during that final level/boss fight and points don’t roll over from other levels), followed by a thank you and credits.
  • At the end of the pirate/unlicensed Famicom game Thunder Warrior, after placing the final puzzle piece, the game displays the same "The End" screen as the Game Over screen before going to the credits.
  • The Sega Master System game Tom and Jerry does this. After playing your way through all the levels and finally catching Jerry, you are Congratulated, then informed that Tom can never really catch Jerry and sent back to play the game over again.
  • Top Banana contains a particularly scary example. After beating the game, you're treated to a still image of a clown made of beads with no music playing. For a few seconds, nothing happens. But then suddenly loud, psychotic laughter starts playing. Afterwards, it cuts to a black screen with the ominous message: WELL DONE TOP BANANA PLEASE TYPE IN YOUR NAME.
  • Toy Story for the Genesis and Super NES. This rather difficult game ends with a couple still images from the movie (with some text underneath) and then... a black screen with multi-colored text saying, "Congratulations! You've won Toy Story. Hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for playing." Roll cast and credits. Uhhhhh, hooray? On top of that, while the Genesis version at least has a remix of "You Got a Friend in Me" to accompany this, SNES players are "treated" to nothing but stark, depressing silence.
    The sequel isn't much better. After you beat the game, you get an incredibly brief clip from the movie, and then a still of Buzz and Woody that simply says "Game Won." Then it cuts right back to the title screen.
  • Wario Land 3 has an actual ending for defeating the final boss. However, if you scour every level of the music box world for all 100 treasures, your reward is... some grainy official art of Wario accompanied by the flashing text "PERFECT!"
  • Super Valis IV, between levels, shows one random still shot with a message that varies in wording but always says that Lena has finished the last act or defeated the last boss and is ready to take on the next act, all of which is redundant information. This is pretty lame considering that most Valis games, including the the PC Engine version of Valis IV, have extensive cutscenes between levels. The actual ending of the game, however, is more substantial.
  • Vectorman 2's ending consists of Vectorman collapsing the hive where he fought the end boss, the word "VICTORY" plastered on the screen in bold font, then...roll credits. Doesn't help any that you also see the credits in the case of a Game Over. Even finishing individual levels manages to feel disappointing.
  • Inversion: You Have to Burn the Rope. Given that the game is designed to be the exact opposite of old Nintendo Hard games, it features an ending credits song that may well be longer than the amount of time it took to beat the game in the first place.

    Puzzle Game 
  • Arkanoid has this on the C64. After completing the game (which must be impossible without an infinite-lives cheat!), you get the usual "Game Over" screen!
    • Arkanoid: Revenge of Doh, at least the Amstrad CPC version, is little better, with two lines of text just saying: "Congratulations you have completed Arkanoid II" before entering your name for the high scores table (which you can do even if you lose).
  • The ending of Chameleon Gems (a Zuma clone) consists of the simple message "Congratulations, [nickname]! You finished the last level!" and the endlessly repeating credits sequence which can be viewed from the main menu at any point anyway. Oh, and they couldn't even be arsed to compose some original music for the ending - you are treated to the same tune which you've been tortured with for all the 100 or so levels.
  • The Impossible Quiz features this - your reward for victory is simply a picture of a trophy, with the words "UR WINNAR" [sic] on the front of it. Averted later on in the sequels. where the Gameplay Grading system is introduced.
  • Unlicensed NES game Krazy Kreatures ends with a message from the programmers openly admitting that they did not make a "splashy ending" for their game, and promising a proper ending for the sequel. No sequel with a splashy ending was ever made.
  • The Amiga versions of Lemmings and the sequel Oh No! More Lemmings rewards gamers who had sweated over the often hair-tearingly frustrating 120 levels of the former and the even more sanity-eroding 100 levels of the latter with a brief screen of congratulatory text, followed by a picture of the game's development staff surrounding a lemming sprite while a short sound clip of applause and cheering played. And that's it.
    Meanwhile, the Genesis version features two animated processions of lemmings walking in opposite directions at the top and bottom of the screen while the credits roll. The Master System and Game Gear versions have a small group of lemmings on a stage doing a can-can dance, then a single screen of credits. The SNES version has a rather more satisfying ending showing a group of four lemmings taking a bow on a stage before the curtain falls, and as the credits roll, the idea that the game had been a sort of (rather morbid) theatre production is carried on as various lemmings are shown carting off props and scenery, buffing the stage floor, and finally switching off the theatre lights.
  • After completing Lemmings 2: The Tribes, in stark contrast to the long and cinematic intro sequence, you're given a blink-and-you'll-miss-it animation of the lemming tribes climbing into their airship and flying away, followed by the credits. You don't exactly play Lemmings games expecting a satisfying ending.
  • Mahjongg Artifacts ends with a still picture of Marc Hawk triumphantly holding up the final artifact he confronted Eldritch Abominations from Atlantis to get the pieces of while a shadowy being lurks in the background, with the caption "YOU WIN!"
  • Mr. Driller 2. When finishing the last level, all you get is a picture of the characters, with the message "Congratulations". THIS is our reward for busting our asses off just trying to finish that hard-as-hell level???
  • Patrick's Parabox: Stepping on the goal in the Multi Infinite world prompts the camera to zoom all the way out, showing all of the levels you have completed in the process, with the Intro hub becoming the "O" in the game's title, followed by credits.
  • PsyCard: The ending to Friend's Quest, after defeating King Ur, is a "congratulations" window saying the number of victories, defeats, and how many steps were taken, then a selection to say "ok" or "good", both of which return the player back to the main game's Start Screen.
  • Puyo Puyo 7 downplays this trope singlehandedly due to the epilogue, but the ending before the credits certainly qualifies. After an extremely easy final boss fight against Ecolo, he laments his defeat, Arle, Amitie and Ringo celebrate with one line each, cut to credits in 5 lines and less than 10 words.
  • Quest of the Sorceress ends with a still picture and the caption "You are now immortal and your name will be forever remembered."
  • Completing the final level with Supaplex gives you a single screen with a message "Congratulations! You have completed all 111 levels of Supaplex! Your brain is in fantastic shape! Not many people are able to manage this!"
  • Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo ends with a mass portrait of all of the playable characters in their Victory Pose regardless of what character you beat it with.
  • Undiscovered ends with a five second black-and-white clip and the caption "And so, three years after their harrowing journey began, the S.S. Lucerne finally returned to Paris."

    Racing Game 
  • Pokémon Dash says "Thank you for Watched!" upon completing any of the modes. This is along with the game having no plot to speak of.

    Rail Shooter 
  • Operation Wolf ends with the getaway plane flying off, and the president giving a speech based on the number of hostages rescued, the very short text of which fits on the same screen as "CONTINUE THE GAME."
  • Paradise Lost, a pretty hard and unfair arcade rail shooter based on the first Far Cry, ends with tally of the medals you and your friends acquire and a high score, and... that's it. Since the game has No Plot? No Problem!.
  • The Silent Scope games all have amazingly quick ending sequences (and some snapshots during the credits). But the most disappointing has to be 2's, where, after conquering seven increasingly lengthy and enemy-packed levels, then making an all-or-nothing shot to save Laura, you get... the heroes bickering for a few seconds before they go their separate ways, one with Laura in tow. Add the fact that this game raises several subplots the others don't (not the least of which is why Falcon and Jackal have such bad blood to begin with), and that's a pretty massive letdown.
  • The DS shooter Touch the Dead. Your character is a convict in a military prison who must fight for survival when zombies attack (and you never find out why, either). The end of the game consists of you being rescued by an army helicopter, and promptly put back in handcuffs. Cue credits. And rage.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • In the Famicom version of Bokosuka Wars, the good ending you get for completing the game is the same scene as the Game Over screen you get for losing, just with the character roles swapped and the message "BRAVO! YOU WIN!"
  • In Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars: Kane's Wrath, after one of Kane's many apocalyptic speeches, he activates the Tacitus, giving the player a CGI sequence for winning the campaign. The catch? It's the opening of the Scrin campaign of the normal game, only BACKWARDS. In the same game, after winning a Global Conquest game (which can feel like a campaign in itself) all you get is the same "Victorious" screen you'd get for winning a skirmish.
  • Medieval II: Total War has a campaign where the objective is to take 45 territories, but you can choose to keep playing afterward and try to take over the rest of the world map. Your reward for conquering all of Europe, the Middle East, north Africa, spending dozens of turns sailing to the New World, and slogging your way through hordes and hordes of Aztecs, is... the same damn ending mini-cinematic, with the message that Charlemagne and Alexander the Great have nothing on you. Fan-freaking-tastic.
  • Most of Paradox Interactive's grand strategy games end with a simple screen showing some bare-bones statistics (nothing you can't see for yourself during the game) on the final state of the world once an arbitrary time limit is reached. It makes sense in that the games don't really have any official win conditions; it's up to the player to decide for themselves what success means, which depending on the context could be anything from world conquest to killing the Pope with venereal disease.
  • Finishing all missions, tutorial or main campaign, in Planet Blupi simply gives you a "victory" screen.
  • Rise of Nations has this for the different campaign modes. You conquer the entire known world as Alexander the Great and all you get is a splash screen that says something along the lines of "Great job. Your empire will surely go down in history as the greatest." The only amusing ones are when the game goes What the Hell, Hero? on you if the Nuclear Option is employed in the Cold War campaign.
  • Sins of a Solar Empire ends with the screen "You're Victorious" or "You're Defeated" after spending roughly 3,945 hours completing a single map. There is some consolation as you have the option to continue playing the same map if you've won. That said, the game is multiplayer-only, so you shouldn't expect an ending every time you complete a game. It just so happens that standard games take a LONG time to play.
  • Beating the PC game Syndicate, which is a time-consuming undertaking that throws at least one ridiculously difficult level at you near the end, "rewards" you with the exact same animated victory screen you see after beating every other level, including the first.
  • After beating the last mission in UFO: Extraterrestrials, you get a dull 20 second movie of the alien mothership exploding and then a text box saying "Victory! You have destroyed the alien overmind and freed Earth from slavery. Rejoice!"

    Run and Gun 
  • Bullet end with a single frame stating "CONGRATULATIONS [INSERT NAME]" in caps. Then... you go back to the first stage. Have fun!
  • The first three games of the CT Special Forces series ends with your character being congratulated by your commander in a voiceover, followed by the credits scrolling over a stationary frame of a helicopter taking off. Then the game ends.

    Rhythm Game 
  • Completing a song in Cytus with all Perfects gives you a flashy "Million Master" animation and a Master rank on the chart. Clearing the song with a 100% TP rating, which is also an all-Perfect run but harder to do (as there's actually two judge ranks both labeled "Perfect"), yields...exactly the same visual rewards, aside from your TP record for the chart being updated to 100.
  • Complete Take A Walk without messing up even once and you'll unlock the final reward... a short cutscene of the player character getting hit on the head by a falling fruit. And not even that hard.

  • For how tough Death Road to Canada is, the ending of the game just has the main characters walking around a looping background as the credits play, and a small blurb gives an inconsequential "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue.
  • The Excuse Plot of Equin: The Lantern has an adventurer diving into a 50-floor dungeon to find a magical multicolored Lantern and figure out what it does. Once you do get there, the Lantern faintly flashes white as the narrator reveals its purpose was simply to be a goal for strong warriors to work for. Your character then disappears, with the usual logfile stating he died of old age at floor 51.
  • Mission: Mainframe is an early roguelike from the '80s with the unusual theme of the player entering an office building to defeat the computer mainframe that has taken over. After hours and hours of gameplay that may result in going through characters like tissue paper, your reward for winning is a single message reading "Congratulations! You saved the world from the Maniacal Mainframe."
  • NetHack: A game so hard it can take years to finally beat, and when you do, all you get is a couple of lines about how an invisible choir is singing your praises and your god is granting you immortality. And then the game ends.
    • Mocked in the Nethack fan Webcomic Dudleys Dungeon.
    • If you win, the line in the logfile that normally says "Killer: [thing that killed you]" is replaced with "Killer: ascended."
  • In NeuroVoider, after finally going through the increasingly difficult task of even reaching the 2-part final battle and then beating it, you are given the choice to finish off the final boss or do nothing and initiate New Game+ (which is just another loop). Do the former and you go to the game over screen.
  • Sipho: When you beat the final boss, all you get is a message congratulating you on destroying the ecosystem (and an achievement on Steam) before going into the next epoch.
  • Battle your way through all 30 floors of Sword of the Stars: The Pit — a tall enough order even on Easy with how aggressively you can be screwed by the RNG deciding to not give you food, usable ammo, weapons, or repair stations, followed by a final floor of wall-to-wall boss rooms that are pretty much impossible without high-end weapons that you may never see drop, and in the best case will only have enough ammo to comb about half the floor searching for the objective — and your reward is three lines of dialogue followed by a popup that says "You win! THE END".

    Role Playing Game 
  • The Bob-Omb Mafia, a ROM hack of Super Mario RPG has its ending shown after you collect all four MacGuffins: you immediately return to Bowser's castle and find Bowser and Peach waiting for you. Bowser says, "Hey, good work Mario. Here's the princess." The screen scrolls up as it fades out, and you are greeted by this message:
    You beat the hack.
    Now kill yourself.
  • The infamously difficult and obtuse NES strategy game Bokosuka Wars gives you a goofy little animation and the message "BRAVO! YOU WIN!" if you actually manage to beat it. Of course, most gamers will probably see the infamous "WOW! YOU LOSE!" game over screen far, far more often.
  • The creators of Child of Light ran out of time during development and had to cut out a fair amount of content that they wanted to remain in the game. This would have included more party members, more lore, and Multiple Endings. One of the consequences of the time limit is that the single ending after the Final Boss feels very rushed. It's essentially a cutscene, a storyboard, and then...cue the credits!
  • The normal ending of Chrono Cross: the Time Devourer breaks apart and vanishes into a portal, then you get a black screen with the word 'Fin' in the corner. Getting the good ending is a big Guide Dang It!.
  • The 1974 dnd game ends immediately after leaving the dungeon with a simple screen saying "CONGRATULATIONS" and reminding you your characters name is in the list of winners.
  • The NES version of Dragon's Lair: "Congratulations! Our hero has triumphed! Daphne is saved from Singe's evil clutches. May you both live happily ever after?..."
  • Dragon Slayer, at least in the Game Boy version, ends with the message, "You are the greatest Dragon Slayer! See you next game!" Considering the game doesn't bother to explain who the player character is supposed to be, it's perhaps to be expected.
  • The reward for beating the incredibly repetitive Evolution Worlds twice is a simple "Congratulations" screen with a group shot of the main cast.
  • The original Eye of the Beholder is notorious for crashing to MS-DOS immediately after beating the Final Boss, with a blue "Congratulations!" window. The authors planned several more puzzles to open the path to the surface, a final cutscene and saving the party for the next game (like in EoB 2), but it was all scrapped to reduce the game size. Some remnants can be seen with a level editor or in the Amiga demo.
  • The boss battle in Gothic ends in a nice cutscene depicting the death of the boss and the collapse of his lair, apparently killing the hero, but destroying the Barrier and freeing the colony. Unfortunately, we don't get to see the latter, because the screen goes black after the lair collapses and all we get is a voiceover.. Pirate versions have a glitch causing the game to crash at precisely the moment that the cutscene should start. As Gothic crashes rather a lot anyway, it could take players a few attempts (or a glance at a walkthrough) to realise that the game is actually over.
  • Hydlide:
    • In the first game, after the egregious Fake Difficulty of the Final Boss battle, the three fairies appear and combine to form the princess, and... "CONGRATULATIONS!" That's all there is to the ending.
    • In Hydlide II: Shine of Darkness, the ending text runs a bit longer, on a name entry screen:
    "CONGRATULATIONS! Your name as a brave in humankind will be passed down from generation to generation, forever and ever, in Fairy Land kingdom."
  • Ishar has a weak plot to begin with, but the ending reeks: You fight the red wizard from the opening cinematic. You haven't seen him since then, and he's explicitly not the Big Bad, since you beat him earlier. Win, and you watch a scene of your character sitting amidst a circle of magical pillars while triumphant music plays. You never find out why you were collecting Rune Tablets, what Ishar's power is, who the guy in red was, or why you fought that turncoat character earlier.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II. A 30-plus-hour story-driven RPG, and what do you get at the end? A fifteen second FMV with no dialogue. The common excuse given by the creators of KotOR 2 is that they didn't have time to put in a decent ending, as the game was rushed for the holidays.
  • Lands of Lore 2 has an ending so disappointing it might as well simply say "A Winner Is You". After an epic game filled with awesome cinematics, after finally defeating the evil god Belial, what do you get? The Draracle walking in on Luther and Dawn in bed, telling them he is leaving. That is all.
  • In Legacy of the Wizard, after Roas kills the dragon, he leaves the dungeon to find the rest of his family waiting. They all walk over to the house, and wave to the player, and cuts to the credits from there. The original MSX version doesn't even have any of this, skipping straight from the Final Boss to the credits.
  • Mass Effect 3 managed to earn widespread notoriety for its ending - a choice between three different options that have implied results, but which ultimately boil down to choosing the colour of the big setting-wrecking space explosion. Thankfully the Extended Cut at least attemped to repair some of the damage it did to Bioware's reputation and make the various endings actually provide closure.
    The original (pre-Extended Cut) ending includes a message after completing the game: "Commander Shepard has become a legend by ending the Reaper threat. Now you can continue to build that legend through further gameplay and downloadable content." Asking the player to go out and buy DLC after such a disappointing ending is an extra Kick the Dog moment for many.
  • Mother:
    • Subverted in Mother 3. After you watch the Dragon destroy the world, you get a black screen with 'The End...?' on it. However, if you use the D-Pad, you can still move around and discover what happened after.
    • At the end of the original Famicom version of Mother 1, you sing Maria's Lullaby to Giegue, he leaves in his spaceship, and the credits roll. This was fixed in the North American prototype and the GBA re-release.
  • OFF: The Main Ending is this, repeating the game's Arc Words "The Switch is now on OFF" and then fading to black before rolling credits. The second ending with the Judge is only slightly better, with a bit of exposition and an eloquently put expression of regret by The Judge on behalf of himself and the Player before he walks away and the screen fades to black. The credits roll the same, but with a few brief glimpses of the Judge walking through the game's previous zones. Considering the secret ending and its Mind Screw, this could actually be considered merciful, rather than frustrating like most uses of this trope.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2, of all games, ends with a bored-sounding narrator informing you that everyone was killed by the Collapsing Lair of the final boss. In other words, a video game ends with Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies.
  • In Requital, your reward for hacking through a linear derivative action RPG with terrible voice acting is either a bald "Game Complete" message if you choose the easy ending or a round of applause from all unique characters if you complete the hard ending. That's it. No ending cinematic. You can't even interact with the clapping characters at all, they just stand around afterwards.
  • The Sacred Armour of Antiriad: The ending consists of Tal floating in the void in while a short message loops through the status box: THE OPPRESSORS ARE DEFEATED YOUR RACE IS FREE PRESS FIRE TO PLAY AGAIN
  • Blue's quest in SaGa Frontier. Once you deliver the finishing blow to the final boss, the picture freezes in mid-strike and fades to black and white as "THE END" appears on it. This is especially egregious, as SaGa Frontier is an RPG for the PlayStation, and its storyline wasn't exactly minimal; it certainly isn't minimal for the endings to the six other characters' quests, some of whom have Multiple Endings each. There's actually a reason for this, however; despite being so according to game mechanics, that isn't the finishing blow. As revealed in the accompanying book, Blue/Rouge and his friends never win the battle, and indeed, it can't be won. Blue and Rouge weren't being prepared to defeat the King of Hell — or at least make Sealed Evil in a Duel. That is, they were being trained to keep him busy for the rest of eternity, so he couldn't finish the invasion.
    The "reason" is because the developers ran out of time to implement everything they wanted, including a whole scenario, some much-needed elaboration on the universe and its workings, and, of course, Blue's ending. The plot they originally planned was for Blue to battle Hell's Lord for all eternity until he was saved by The Power of Friendship.
  • Should you beat the PS1 game Team Buddies, the ending FMV features a random character walking onto the screen and asking "So you won the game. Whadaya want, a medal or something? Get outta here!"
  • The neutral ending of Undertale simply consists of the game giving you the option to spare or kill Flowey, then cutting to fairly bland credits after your character leaves the underground. You get a phone call from Sans that changes depending on your actions, and if you chose to spare Flowey he'll give you a hint on how to get a better ending before you're kicked back to the intro cutscene. The game's other two endings, on the other hand, are much more elaborate.
  • This trope is one of three endings for the original Valkyrie Profile: Ending B. If you don't fall out of Odin and Freya's favor (which leads to Ending C, a Non-Standard Game Over) and follow the game straight through without taking the incredibly counter-intuitive and tricky steps to get Ending A, then you fight Surt and the Vanir for the final battle (if you get Ending A, you fight Loki instead), get a congrats from Freya, and Lenneth the Valkyrie is sent back to sleep. Worse yet, this is the best ending you can get on Easy Mode, as Ending A can only be obtained on Normal or Hard. Interestingly, after the credits run through, a dialogue appears and it slyly alludes to Ending A, but drops no hints on how to get it.
  • X-Men Legends II ends with a way-too-short cutscene showing the parting of the X-Men and Brotherhood, who'd teamed up in an Enemy Mine situation. Magneto says exactly what anyone who knows the character would expect him to say, we find out that, predictably, Sinister had sabotaged Apocalypse's machine, and they fly off. It takes approximately twenty seconds. Quicksilver and Polaris, kidnapped before the start of the game and worried about by various characters throughout, are never seen, let alone given any sort of reunion, even as part of the scene where the two groups walk back to their respective planes.

    Shoot Em Up 

  • The NES version of 1942 is 32 stages loooooong. After you clear the last stage, you get a "CONGRATULATIONS" message typed out, and then your final score is displayed, sending you back to the title screen. At least the translators at Capcom managed to spell "CONGRATULATIONS" correctly...
    • The arcade ending is even more gratuitous: "We give up! Game Over. Presented by Capcom. Hope our next game."
    • In the ZX Spectrum version they didn't bother even that much. If you manage to beat all levels (which is almost impossible without using cheat codes), all you get is the exact same "game over" message as when you die.
  • Alien Breed: Special Edition '92 lampshades it.
  • Andro Dunos for the Neo Geo ends with a message telling you "PLEASE TRY THE NEXT STAGE". But even if you play on the hardest difficulty and loop the game, the endings stay the same.
  • UPL's Ark Area has this message at the end:

  • If you beat Army Moves, a feat which many players will find impossible without cheating, you get only a message saying either "To Be Continued in Navy Moves" or "Congratulations! You have completed your mission."
  • Lampshaded in the fourth-wall-breaking ending of Bangai-O Spirits, which is achieved by completing all of the stages in the Treasure's Best folder; the characters explain that the ending only exists so that players won't throw fits over the lack of one.
  • In Battle Garegga and Battle Bakraid, you just get a "COMPLETED!" in both games.
  • In Blazing Star, defeating the Final Boss gives you a rather disappointing wall of Engrish text, followed by some credits. The character endings can be seen here. Most likely it was cut out from the game or something.
  • Blue Revolver at least gives Mae a fleshed-out ending in which she gets a particularly harsh "The Reason You Suck" Speech and is told to stop making life-threatening Devices and she ultimately accepts her mistakes and pursues a proper career making designs for Technicians. Val's ending, in contrast, reveals that the entire game was All Just a Dream for her. The entirety of the dialogue is as follows:
    Val: "... ... ..."
    Val: "I'm calling sick today."
  • Cho Ren Sha 68k ends with a simple "Mission Complete" message...but only in versions of the game before ver. 1.10. The new ending in 1.10 is a rather surreal extended sequence where, upon defeating the Final Boss, the player inexplicably finds themselves in a completely new plane landing in a shabby military base and is welcomed back to "the real world". At least the old "Mission Complete" ending is exactly what it says.
  • While the arcade version of Commando loops indefinitely after level 8, the NES version ends after the fourth mission (16th level) with the Engrish message "Your all misson is all over. Your great player. Thank you for playing. This game was ended".
  • After beating Core Design's Amiga/Atari ST shooter Frenetic, you get a single screen featuring prose that would make Tolkien jealous:
    Well done. You kicked some butt!!
    Congratulations from Rob And Lee.
    The enemy forces are regrouping now go get em ......
  • Cloud Cutter, a retraux game paying homage to old-timey arcade shooters, does this in the ending screen as well. It contains 12 levels and can takes at least an hour and fifteen minutes to complete for expert players (most older games of this genre can be finished in half an hour or so) and after all that effort? You get a "Thank you for playing!" notice plastered over the picture of... the game's cover art.
  • All of the arcade Shoot 'Em Up games listed above at least gave you a message to congratulate you for winning. Gigandes, on the other hand, rewards the player for winning all eight "Rounds" and conquering the final boss with... a Game Over screen, the same one shown when they lose all their lives. At least they get to enter their initials afterward (if they got a high score, anyway)
  • Heavy Barrel: "Congratulations. You have accomplished your mission. Dismantle your secret weapon. You saved the land from disaster. Thank you for playing. Data East USA, Inc." Then again, the plot isn't much to begin with...
  • As if Ikari Warriors wasn't tedious enough, here's the ending.
  • Legendary Wings for the NES has an ending like this. "You have saved human race from its extinction. Thank you for playing". And then the game starts over on a higher difficulty. The arcade version says "Thanks to you, the world is saved", followed by the Game Over screen.
  • Mission Genocide for the Amstrad CPC gives no indication for completing the last level other than a line of text saying "WELL DONE!!" as it loops back to Level 9.
  • NARC. After defeating the game's Nintendo Hard Big Bad, Mr. Big, players are rewarded only with the message, "You have completed the NARC training mission... CONTACT YOUR LOCAL DEA RECRUITER", then it goes right to the Enter High Score screen.
  • The PSP port of Platypus simply kicks you back to the main menu after beating the final boss.
  • Beating Robotron 64 gives you an ugly render of the last human family and a message saying "Thanks to you and your super-human powers, the last human family will live to see the year 2085."
  • Psycho Nics Oscar concludes the game with a three-second clip of you flying around and a red "THE END" pasted onscreen.
  • One of the games that come inside the Sega Master System console is "Safari Hunt", where the player must shoot several animals and score enough points to pass each level. If you pass the last level, you receive the same song one gets for failing to pass a level but with the message "Good Playing - Game Over" instead of "Game is Over".
  • The MSX port of Salamander ends with a half-hearted "Congraturation! You are great star fighter" from the commander, before cutting to a "The End" screen asking if you want to play again.
  • The obscure TurboGrafx-16 shoot'em-up Sinistron/Violent Soldier ended with a bunch of pictures of the various levels of the game and a black screen saying "Congratulation!".
  • XBLA Mind Screw-fest Space Giraffe concludes each level with phrases such as the Trope Namer and "But our giraffe is in another castle", along with a few others.
  • Starship Hector: "Be praised with your courage. And so on, the Earth is saved. You go on the long voyage. Good luck!"
  • TASAC ends with a shot of the player ships flying away from an exploding base before looping back to the first stage.
  • In the arcade version of Time Soldiers, when you defeat the Final Boss, the screen freezes and superimposed above the credits is this message: "You destroyed the Gylend and rescued all warriors." The Sega Master System version reduces the message to just "Congratulations!" over a black screen.
  • The Touhou Project spin-off game, Double Spoiler, has this. You Are Super Player! Something of a weird example, considering that this is immediately followed by unlocking half of the game.
  • Transformers: Convoy no Nazo, as expected for a Nintendo Hard game with camouflaged projectiles everywhere on screen that kills your character in one shot, only awards you with a paragraph of Japanese text after you beat it, either telling that the Decepticons have come back and you need to go back and collect the Rodimus cubes, or else that a new battle awaits for Rodimus. If you then beat the game with Rodimus Prime (who plays exactly the same), you'll simply get "Congratulations".
  • Truxton II has the standard "Conglaturations" upon beating the Final Boss. The original, of course, was an Endless Game.
  • Twin Cobra II ends on a black screen saying "Congratulations! Mission Accomplished" followed straight by the Game Over prompt. The Sega Saturn port's Arrange Mode at least gives the game a proper staff roll.
  • The ending to XDR: X-Dazedly-Ray, a frustratingly difficult shooter for the Mega Drive, shows the player's ship flying back to Earth, followed by a screen saying, "Congratulation. Now, You're Hero." Then it loops back to the first level.
  • Xenon 2 Megablast has the anticlimactic ending of showing the mid-level shopkeeper again, who briefly informs you that this is the end, followed by a black screen with a white dot.
  • Zanac has a fairy flying around and writing out the player's score, a staff roll, and, in between, the message: "CONGRATULATIONS! YOU ARE THE MESSIAH OF EARTH."
  • Zero Wing has an ending that, while not as notorious as the Memetic Mutation that is All Your Base, fits this trope to a tee, garbled English and all.
    A.D. 2111
    All bases of CATS were destroyed.
    It seems to be peaceful.
    But it is incorrect.
    CATS is still alive.
    ZIG-01 must fight with CATS again.
    And down with them completely! Good luck.
  • Zing Zing Zip has this message at the end:
    YOU DID IT!!


  • In ZeroRanger, completing White Vanilla / Light Mode with a Z rank, as hard as it isHow hard? , merely "awards" the player with disdain from the simulation's proctor(s):
    • If Green Orange mode has not been beaten yet, the EDF commanders give you no congratulations whatsoever, only expressing disbelief that you were able to achieve such a high grade, before coldly dismissing you.
    • If Green Orange mode has already been beaten (unless you activated the Reset Button in the options), G.O. cheerfully says you have won her "eternal gratitude". After several seconds of silence (as if you're expecting a better reward), she tells you to Get Out! and closes her dialogue shutter (all while maintaining her cheerful smile, no less), leaving you on the results screens with no music playing at all.
  • Zone 66: Despite the interesting plot, the ending consists of one paragraph and simply acknowledges your revenge is complete, and you can move on with your life.

    Simulation Game 
  • America's Next Top Model for the Nintendo Wii has this. The player character faces off in a fashion show against their final rival, Vanessa. Once they win, Jack comes over to congratulate the player for their victory. The player character says "Is it over already?" Cut to black, then credits.
  • Winning Endgame: Singularity results in a short screen of text. Given the nature of the game, anything other than text wasn't expected, but it's short, not very exciting, and the real clincher: it's displayed in the same plain box every in-game alert is, and the game goes on afterwards as if nothing had happened.
  • After beating the obscenely hard Guide Dang It!-ridden Amiga space strategy sim Exodus 3010, you get a single screen, almost identical to the Game Over screen, with the text 'WELCOME ON MRYNN. YOU HAVE REACHED YOUR NEW PLANET', complete with the game over music.
  • In No Man's Sky lots of hype was built up about reaching the center of the galaxy. What will you find there? What happens? Once you get there, it begins a New Game Plus, where the player is teleported to another galaxy without any kind of reward or plot revelation. Upon triggering the hyperdrive jump, you zoom out of the current galaxy, zoom into another galaxy, and start over with your current exosuit, multi-tool, and ship, but all tech is critically damaged on all three. You even start the new galaxy the same way you started the old one.
  • In Silent Hunter III, if you manage to survive to 7 May 1945 you get the radio message sent in Real Life to all U-Boats exalting your bravery and ordering to surrender -quitting is enough-. Then you get the same screen as when you're sunk, listing the ships and tonnage sunk.
  • For beating the mode one player in WolfQuest you simply get a message telling you that you succeeded in your goal, and a brief synopsis of what will happen afterwards.

    Sports Game 
  • Every GBA Backyard Sports game just has a congratulations screen and nothing else when you beat the game, except for Backyard Football, which is a worse scenario.
  • In Legend of Success Joe, after winning the last match, the game just shows the credits against a shot of Joe Riding into the Sunset.
  • In the season-mode of NFL Blitz 20-03, when you finally win the Super Bowl there's only a congratulations with a cheerleader. Then you press A and it's back to the main menu.
  • Rap Jam: Volume One. After beating many, many virtually identical teams and the very difficult champions, what do you get? The exact same screen showing people dancing on the court as you saw every time you got a password...but instead of a password, you get the message, "YOU'RE ALL THAT! AND A BAG OF CHIPS." Thank you, that dated bit of slang makes it all worthwhile.
  • Shady's Poopong 20th Anniversary Edition's Boss Rush mode ends with a direct reference to the Trope Namer.
  • The carrot dangling at the end of the Career Mode stick for Tony Hawk's Pro Skater players, beyond unlocked cheats and possibly new characters, were video clips of said pro skaters (or compilations of painful bails). The footage eventually compiled from beating the game over and over turned your copy into a mini-skate tape of its own (the move to the DVD format raised this even more with over a half hour of skate footage in 3 and 4). That is, if you were playing a disc-game format. Stuck with the Nintendo cartridge versions on the N64 and handhelds that couldn't hold FMVs? Then your non-cosmetic reward for completing a campaign is a simple congratulatory text — except for the N64 version of THPS3, which just smash cuts to the credits after finishing your final run — and roll credits.
    Nintendo 64 version of THPS1: Your [sic] are the top Pro Skater!
    Nintendo 64 version of THPS2: Now get off your couch and go skate!
    Game Boy Advance version of THPS2: Congratulations, you got the gold! You really are a Pro Skater! Ever consider making games?
  • Tropical Angel: The ending screen shows the girl lying on a beach and giving you a kiss according to the description.

    Stealth Based Game 
  • Assassin's Creed has a decent ending for the Altaïr plot, but the modernish-day plot gives the player some cryptic scribblings on the wall, the threat of death hanging over the still-imprisoned protagonist, and about 8 billion unanswered questions.
  • The victory image for 100% completion of Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions (or Special Missions, depending on your locale) was simply a bit of mecha concept art. The significance of this image (it was concept art for the sequel's mecha, which would not be seen outside of Konami for a long time) wasn't immediately obvious, and there was no way of viewing it for a second time, except by starting a new game and getting it up to 100%.

    Survival Horror 
  • Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem had this as one of the insanity effects. You are given a sudden, abrupt To Be Continued screen, informing you that the story will be concluded in a sequel. Of course, it's a case of Fission Mailed: five seconds later, the screen flashes to your character recovering from the hallucination.
  • Resident Evil has you fighting through the mansion grounds against zombies and other monstrosities while your teammates are found dead left and right, you find out who the traitor is, you fight the ultimate bio-weapon, summon the helicopter to escape and what do you get? A short video of the helicopter flying away followed by the credits. The bad ending has The Stinger showing the Final Boss isn't quite dead and the better endings show the mansion exploding from the self destruct sequence, but besides those changes, nothing else happens. Luckily, the later sequels would give better closures in their endings. The remake, while adding more plot elements, still has the same short endings.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • Alien Swarm. You reach the final map (7 total) and make it to the source of the alien bug infestation. You activate the bomb and race out of the area to be picked up by your commander, dodging hordes of alien bugs of all varieties as the bomb's clock ticks down. What do you get? Aside from the usual EXP you earn, just a standard congratulations message on the mission results screen, then the credits rolling over it. You can't do anything else except start a new campaign (or play the same one again since there's only one official one) or quit the game.
  • In Army Men: Sarge's War, after the Big Bad is killed, all the player receives is a medal, and are unable to save the game after beating the last boss so they can keep the medal.
  • Bloodstone ends with Bond's Girl of the Week being shot dead, Bond telling M that he'll need a new contact to complete his mission...and then ends on a Sequel Hook for another game that was never released.
  • The Ghost in the Shell game for the PlayStation promises a "bonus" if you finish the game on its hardest difficult setting without ever dying. Said bonus is a low-res scan of a pinup of Major Kusanagi.
  • Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus has a real ending, but taunts players who don't find all 300 mudokons with the implication that they missed out on something extra special. Upon finding every damn mudokon, the player is given an apology before sitting through a boring slideshow of concept art, some of which was already seen in the previous game, Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee.

    Time Management 
  • After you beat all of the levels in Daycare Nightmare, the last shot is of Molly telling the player, "You've won!".
  • Lucy's Expedition ends with a still picture of newspaper photos showing Lucy triumphantly holding up Atlantean artifacts and her rival Nigel Gneaugood behind bars.

    Turn Based Strategy 

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • The original Grand Theft Auto shows you your boss congratulating you (as on every level before), then returns to the level select screen; ignoring the absence of more levels.
    • Grand Theft Auto 2 has nothing but a screen with "GAME COMPLETE" and a bunch of random pictures once you finally complete the last area. Thankfully the following games introduced an actual plot.
  • For a long time, Minecraft had no ending or sign of progression at all, living up to the true wide open sandbox name. When the game became a full version, this was changed. Players can go on a lengthy quest to gather materials needed to eventually reach The End realm and fight the Enderdragon. Beating the dragon gets you 20,000 experience points and the player is left with a really long and pretty slow crolling text with two unseen beings talking to the player, having a very surrealist dialogue about existence and reality, followed by the credits.
  • No More Heroes exhibits this particular trope based on player choice. Upon defeating the final boss, you get the option to save your game, and then you can choose between viewing the ending, viewing the "True" ending, and returning to Santa Destroy. The ending (not the "True" ending) shows Travis on the toilet when a would-be assassin invades his apartment. Cue the credits.
    If you haven't purchased all of the game's weapons, you don't get the option of selecting the good ending. However there's only three of them, the game just about shouts at you when there's a new sword available, and the game is pretty much structured so that skipping a sword is a bad idea, not to mention there's not much else to spend money on. So it's really your own stupid fault if you get stuck with the lousy ending.
  • Yume Nikki does this. Although there was never a clear plot (which spawned so much fan speculation and theory on what the heck is going on), the ending just pretty much leaves you feeling that you did all that effort of finding all the different effects for nothing. Giving up all the effects in the ritual room in the dream world, the main character wakes up to find a stepladder, which was definitely not there before, on her apartment balcony. If you walk her up to it, she uses it to jump off the balcony — in doing so revealing that she has been Driven to Suicide. The Downer Ending is quickly cut to the credits the moment she jumps. The sequel disguised as a reimagining implies that the whole first game is a Dream W Ithin A Dream as the beginning is that the main character, walking outside, discovers a bloodstain on the ground and awakened inside her room again.

Non-Video Game examples:

  • Battle Royale: Winning the BR-program won't bring you very much (other than surviving that is). The government neither gives the winners any prize, nor any promotion, so they'll be on their own after the game.

    Web Animation 
  • Parodied by Homestar Runner in the bonus email "videro games" on the "strongbad_email.exe" DVD.
    Strong Bad: And who doesn't remember staying up all night to beat an end boss only to be rewarded with a hearty "CONGRATURATION!" They didn't even bother giving you multiple ones. Just a single congraturation they had lying around the video game make place.
    Later in said episode...
    Bald Guy: Hey man, you gonna eat that last Congraturation?
    Wilbur: Naw, man. We're puttin' it in the game if you beat the end boss.
    • "A Jumping Jack Contest": The trophy for winning said contest has "What a Great Prize This Is." inscribed on it.
  • Also parodied in one of the non-canonical endings of Red vs. Blue. Believing that the large computer beneath Blood Gulch controls reality itself, Sarge begins to assault it when it's obvious that Red Command isn't going to back him up in destroying the Blue team. Sarge begins to rejoice, then asks "What the hell am I looking at?" when the computer displays badly translated text informing him that's he's won and rolls credits composed entirely of Japanese names. It's implied from there that the whole series was one extremely long, very weird Halo match on Xbox Live.

    Web Original 
  • Brentalfloss has a song devoted to this trope. It's set to the end credits music of Super Mario World, and references several games featured on this page.
  • In the SuperMarioLogan episode, "Bowser's Video Game", Bowser has a lot of trouble beating Charleyyy and Friends: The Video Game, and is so frustrated, he lets Junior play the game when Junior comes across him. Junior manages to beat the game in ten minutes, much to Bowser's bewilderment. Onscreen, the game has a message that says, "CONGRATULATIONS YOU BEAT THE GAME YOU WIN" as its ending.
  • Yahoo Answers is a feature where Yahoo members help each other with collaborative answers to general knowledge questions. It is level-based so that the more correct answers you lodge, the higher you rise. But as a "best answer" is only worth 10 points and the gap between levels is measured in thousands of points—5,000 to ascend from Level 5 to 6, 14,000 to climb from Level 6 to 7—progress is painfully slow, unless you want to be one of the peculiar people who live on YA. And what recognition do you finally get when you have painfully amassed all those thousands of points? Sweet FA. Yahoo need to think about this..


    Western Animation 
  • Season 7 of Archer had an Alternate Reality Game attached to it that ended with a .zip file revealing that The Pirate Virus from Season 2 was behind it all. Included was a 3D printer model of the character and a postcard congratulating the fans, both of which were literally named "A winner is you"
  • Buddy Thunderstruck has a notoriously bad arcade game, which despite opening an impenetrable vault upon victory to award the player with a real-life trophy, in-game just features a simple "Good Job" graphic and the trophy is considered to be not that exciting anyway.
  • Parodied in the second season finale of Drawn Together, in which the producer reveals that the winner of the show is, "You, the viewer." Unamused, the audience promptly descends into a violent rage.
  • An episode of Mona the Vampire was about everyone being obsessed over a game named "Space Wars II" which was touted as having a super secret ending. After the main characters beat the game, the secret ending turned out to be "To be continued in Space Wars III". Everyone is appropiately angry.
  • Regular Show takes it to the extreme in season 2 episode 8, Rage Against the TV, where getting close to finishing the game causes TV problems and eventually prompts the game to come to life to stop itself from being beaten. Actually winning results in a quick "you win" screen before the TV crumbles to dust.
    • In the episode "Birthday Gift" Rigby gifts the game "Cake Quest" he made himself thanks to Zaxon's device that makes videogames with his mind to Mordecai for the his birthday which is just an extremely short game that can be completed in five seconds. The ending screen says "Your a winner. Game Over". Cue to Mordecai complaining that this game is awful, but despite this, he says that is one of the best gifts he made.
  • The Simpsons: In "The Canine Mutiny", Bart gets a pachinko machine that says: "You a winner. Hahaha!" over and over.
  • Parodied on the Guitar Hero episode of South Park — when Stan and Kyle finally break a million points on Guitar Hero and unlock super-stardom, all they get is the message, "CONGRATULATIONS! YOU... ARE... FAGS!" It pisses them off to no end.
    In a popular mod for Frets on Fire, named "Frets on Fire X" or "FoFiX". getting 100% on a song will get you a sound clip of the "CONGRATULATIONS! YOU ARE FAGS!" quote from that episode.
  • A Holodeck Malfunction episode of Transformers: Rescue Bots is resolved by Blades and Cody beating the game and being rewarded with the announcement "a winner is you!" by the game's guide character.


Video Example(s):


Escape the Boogeyman

To be fair, most Flash games during the 2000s were often made with a shoestring budget.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / AWinnerIsYou

Media sources: