Yahtzee: Aw, I wish you hadn't said that.
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 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 British 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.
Keep in mind that 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, while in some 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.
Cousin to, if not the most extreme form of, 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, the programming is often rushed for 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.
As this is an Ending Trope, most spoilers are unmarked. Beware if you wish to be spared some awful disappointment in seeing your favorite games here.
Video Game Examples:
- Dizzy As per the page quote. Completing Dizzy: the Ultimate Cartoon Adventure starts some autoscrolling text which reads:
CONGRATULATIONS! DIZZY HAS RID KATMANDU OF THE EVIL WIZARD ZAKS AND IN DOING SO HAS GAINED THE RESPECT OF WHICH HE IS TRUELY WORTHY! IS THIS DIZZYS ONLY CHALLANGE OR WILL HE BE CALLED UPON AGAIN?
- 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.
- Adventure, the original Atari VCS (later 2600) game: The screen flashes and a triumphant fanfare plays. However, most video games — let alone the Atari VCS — didn't have an ending sequence; the fanfare that was included was considered novel for the era.
- Superman, another Atari VCS action-adventure game that was released just a few months earlier,has just a simple three-note congratulatory tune that played after the player completes his objective (repairing a bridge destroyed by Lex Luthor, capturing and sending to jail Luthor and all of his underlings, turning back into Clark Kent and returning to the Daily Planet). Like Adventure that came later, the ending fanfare is simple and was considered novel for 1979.
- 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 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 that were planned 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.
- 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.
- The first Tomb Raider game rewards the player with a FMV about a second or two long of Lara's ship leaving, presumably going home now that it's all over.
- Ninjabread Man: If you actually manage to beat the game despite its broken controls and Camera Screw, the screen goes black and you're taken back to the title screen.
- 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.
- 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.
- Takeshi's Challenge, naturally. Specifically, it's a picture of Takeshi's face and the lone word "Amazing!", and if you wait long enough for something else to happen, he chastises you for taking the game seriously.
- 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.
- Planet 404 plays with this, twice:
- This is one of the actual messages you get for beating a mission.
- When you first reach Planet 404, a plain message appears, thanking you for playing. After a moment Jethro announces that the game's not over yet, and the game continues.
- The Legend of Zelda has Zelda thank Link for saving 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 showing you how many times you died and that "You have an amazing power and wisdom."
- 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.
- In the Famicom successor to Stop The Express, Challenger, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 gets kidnapped again.
It does have an ending, after you rescue Kiri-hime three times. But the game does loop again after that...
- After completing the surprisingly fun Disney's 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.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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 some 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.
- One NES game in particular that ends in a way you'd call extremely unsatisfying is Jim Henson's Muppet Adventure: Chaos at the Carnival. After you find all four keys from the four mini-games, as Kermit, you must defeat Dr. Grump. Upon winning, he has Miss Piggy slowly float down to Kermit and all you get for an ending is where Miss Piggy says "Oh thank you! Oh thank you! But it sure took you long enough!" Yes, you save Miss Piggy from God knows what Dr. Grump was planning on doing with her and she starts chastising you!!
- 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?"
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!".
- Evolva. The ending? 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. End.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- The ending of Loaded is a very short FMV showing the final boss's body melting away and his brain escaping.
- Dragon's Lair 2: Time Warp has this in the ending, with the caption saying, "Congratulations, you are a winner!"
- 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!"
- Doom Troopers has these screens as the player's reward for beating the game.
- Game Over for the Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum presents nothing but a black Game Over screen upon completion.
- Trio the Punch ends by declaring "YOU FIGURED IT OUT!", before scrolling down to reveal a giant pair of bloodshoot eyes, and then pulling back to reveal that they belong to a giant shadow-y 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 at the same time.
- 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.
- Little Red Hood for NES has a very basic ending:
"Oh! My dear Little Red Hood! Thank you for your coming!"
- 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.
- 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).
- 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:
YOU ARE GREAT PLAYER
- 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.
- 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 7 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.
- Nicholas' Weird Adventure 2 introduced the term "congrendulates," used as a parody of this trope.
- 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.
- 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.
- In Asterix and the Magic Cauldron, the ending is just a message saying "BY TOUATIS YOU HAVE DONE IT." Most Asterix Licensed Games end with at least a static image of an ancient Gaulish feast, but the developers of this one not only didn't fit that in but couldn't even spell "Toutatis" correctly.
- 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.
- 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!
- Super Double Dragon, being an Obvious Beta, 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 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 friggin' "THE END" title card that you see if you run out of lives and continues, followed by the credits! And that's all you get!!
- The Neo Geo game based on 8th Man: After beating the completely random final boss, you get a five seconds cutscene (which is just the intro played in reverse) and a screen saying "Congratulation!".
- Beating Spider-Man & Venom: Separation Anxiety nets you a picture of Carnage and text saying "GAME COMPLETED".
- The Teen Titans game for PlayStation 2: When you finish you are merely asked "Wanna play again?", and the characters float there 'till you make a choice. If you say no, you get to sit through bland credits. No skipping.
- Nekketsu Kouha Kunio Kun:
- After defeating the final boss in the Japanese arcade version, Kunio walks out of the building and shakes Hiroshi's (a friend that he avenges through each stage) 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 he was held captive in 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.
- 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" 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.
- Dynamite Dux ends with a screen where the Damsel in Distress is freed reading "CONGRATULATIONS!" and little else before the credits.
- 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 dissapointed with the Wallace Wells DLC (the other being that he's just a re-skinned Stephen Stills).
- Burning Fight cuts from the Final Boss straight to the credits, with no real ending for any of the characters.
- 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.
- 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, credit sequence, or 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.
- Slot machines have to lock up 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. Winning a jackpot like this is a very exciting event for most people, which makes it a bit of a shame that many slot manufacturers don't seem to put much effort into what's displayed while waiting for the attendant to reset the machine. IGT's is probably the best, with loud, exciting music and a comparatively slick-looking screen displaying the amount won (intermittently disappearing to show the winning reel combinations again). It goes downhill from there: WMS machines will usually play at least somewhat appropriate music, but the only visual cue of what's happened is a blue and yellow box reading "Jackpot Call Attendant/HAND PAY: $(amount)". Aristocrat machines are even worsea quiet, laid-back piano tune is played and "Call Attendant — Jackpot $(amount)" is displayed in 12-point font at the bottom of the screen. If you're not paying attention, you might have thought the machine had gone into tilt mode or something.
- 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. It gets even better — sometimes the game doesn't quite register whether you're starting or finishing a race, and so there are times when you start a race, only to instantly win.
- In its successor Midnight Race Club Supercharged and the patch, "YOU WIN !" is displayed instead.
- 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... wait for it... the title screen, with a message saying "congratulations! you win!".
- 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.
- Full Auto 2's ending consists of a short cutscene showing the final boss blowing up, after which it skips directly to the credits.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- Two of the last examples for the NES are Mario Is Missing and Mario's Time Machine. The latter requires only marginally more effort.
- 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.
- 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.
- In Soulcalibur III, after beating the Nintendo Hard final level in Chronicles of the Sword, complete with a difficult Final Boss... You get "Emperor died (sic)... 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."
- 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 counts - upon winning, an icon of your character appears with a voice clip saying "The Champion is <Chosen Character>."
- 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.
- 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 says, "You've outlasted the best. You are now the strongest street fighter in the world!" before the credits roll.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- In the Genesis version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters, there is a game mode called "Tournament." In this mode, the player must 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 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.
- 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.
- Killing Zone for the PlayStation ends with a black screen with "Thank You For Playing," the credits and (in a larger font) "CONGRATULATIONS!"
- Nidhogg has "Game Complete" and the time it took you to do so when you complete single player.
- 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.
- The Super Famicom game based on Ashita no Joe gives you one for winning against the Final Boss. If you want the iconic ending, you need to time out.
- 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 the ending music from the original 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.
- 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!
- Borderlands, unlike its successors, defeating the Destroyer doesn't end in a shower of cash and spectacular loot. At most, you get a couple bucks and a few low tier weapons. Since all that happens afterwards is the reveal that you were too late and the vault is closed for another two centuries, the game ends on pretty much a dull note.
- Medal of Honor: Allied Assault just says "The End" and rolls the credits, no victory cutscene, nada.
- 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.
- 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!"
- Quake III: Arena end with the final opponent Xaero turning to statue for no reason at all, followed by credits.
- SWAT 4 ends with just credits. Since the game has no plot, just series of unconnected, but increasingly dangerous situations.
- 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.
- Similarly, the ending to Unreal Tournament 2004 along with its predecessor 2003.
- 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 "Just...one...more...turn!"
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.
- 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.
- 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 Pacmania (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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 the Hedgehog 2. Regardless of whether you get the good ending of 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."
- If you actually have the patience to beat Sonic Labyrinth for the Game Gear, but you didn't collect all the Chaos Emeralds, you are greeted with "CONGRATULATIONS! ALL ZONES CLEAR!!"great grammar there"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!!!" Feels totally worth it, doesn't it?
- 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.
- 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 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 and didn't forget to pick up a necessary weapon and beat the boss, 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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."
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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 upyou don't even get to see any credits, and pressing start sends you back to the title screen. The Game Boy version is even worseFelix just walks right up to Kitty, and the game cuts to a bland THE END screen that you can't exit out of.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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".
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- Mickey Mousecapade: After the Final Boss, Mickey and Minnie exit the castle into a wooded area, and the mystery friend is... Alice in Wonderland! The End.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!"
- Metrocross on the C64 also simply shows "Game Over"
- The ending of Donkey Kong Land consists of nothing but "Congratulations." followed by the credits. Yep, not even an exclamation mark.
- 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.
- 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..."
- 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. 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 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.
- Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind has a particularly infuriating one: "I win! I win! Well, I guess you helped."
- 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.
- After many long levels, Speedy Eggbert ends with a screen showing the hero celebrating by the side of a treasure chest. 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.
- 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!"
- 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).
- 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.
- 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:
NOW, WE HAVE CONQUERED WHOLE WORLDS.
I WANT TO MAKE ANOTHER DRANATIC (sic) ADVENTURE.
WHY DON'T YOU JOIN ME AGAIN?
SEE YOU SOON, MY FRIENDS!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Ninja-kun: Ashura no Shou ends with this oddly spelled message in variously colored text on a black background:
YOU ARE GREAT AND SUPER PLAYER.
GREAT THANKS! THE GAME NINJAKUN HAS BEEN JUST TERMINATED BY YOU.
- In Spelunker (NES version), the end screen has the protagonist dancing on a pile of glittering treasures, under the words:
YOU'VE GAINED ALL THE TREASURES AT LAST!
LET'S START ON ANOTHER ADVENTURE!!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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".
- Master Chu and the Drunkard Hu: It's just Master Chu floating in front of a "THE END" graphic.
- Captain Dynamo: "WELL DONE DYNAMO! YOU HAVE SAVED THE WORLD." The only real graphics on this end screen are copies of the player sprite.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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 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.
- The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures references this trope. Clearing a stage nets you the text "STAGE CLEAR! CONGLATURATION !!", a reference to the infamous Ghostbusters NES game which the AVGN reviewed.
- 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:
WELCOME TO THE BAND
YOU CAN REALLY PLAY THE BLUES.
BAND: BOB, CHRIS, ERIC,
FLYNN, HUBERT, VINCENT.
- Speedy Eggbert had an ending of this nature. After meandering through level after level 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 picture of Eggbert. He stands beside a box full of treasure with a raised fist. Two words beset the screen: "Yes. Great!" Don't you just feel accomplished?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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???
- 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."
- Quest of the Sorceress ends with a still picture and the caption "You are now immortal and your name will be forever remembered."
- 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.
- 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!"
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- In Command & Conquer 3: 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.
- 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!"
- Finishing all missions, tutorial or main campaign, in Planet Blupi simply gives you a "victory" screen.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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".
- 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.
- 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 Nonstandard 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. Great. 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.
- 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.
- Blue's quest in Sa Ga 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
"CONGRATULATIONS! Your name as a brave in humankind will be passed down from generation to generation, forever and ever, in Fairy Land kingdom."
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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?..."
- 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. Considering the secret ending and its Mind Screw, this could actually be considered merciful, rather than frustrating like most uses of this trope.
- In The Sacred Armour Of Antiriad, the ending consists of just a short message that loops through the status box (with not even a splash picture to accompany it):
THE OPPRESSORS ARE DEFEATED YOUR RACE IS FREE PRESS FIRE TO PLAY AGAIN
- 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, resulting from a mixture of Executive Meddling, the departure of Drew Karpyshyn, and his successor going behind the backs of the rest of the writing team. 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.
- 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...
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!".
- 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.
- Alien Breed: Special Edition '92 lampshades it.
- 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.
- 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".
- 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".
- 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.
- 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.
- Truxton II has the standard "Conglaturations" upon beating the Final Boss. The original, of course, was an Endless Game.
- 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 ......
- The Touhou 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.
- 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.
- 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 see the year 2085."
- 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.
- Starship Hector: "Be praised with your courage. And so on, the Earth is saved. You go on the long voyage. Good luck!"
- The PSP port of Platypus simply kicks you back to the main menu after beating the final boss.
- In Battle Garegga and Battle Bakraid, you just get a "COMPLETED!" in both games.
- 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."
- As if Ikari Warriors wasn't tedious enough, here's the ending.
YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISHED
YOU ARE THE VERY PREVAILER
THAT PROTECT RIGHT
I WOULD EXPRESS MY SINCERE.
THANKS TO YOU.
TAKE GOOD REST! GENERAL KAWASAKI
- 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.
- UPL's Ark Area has this message at the end:
CONGRATULATIONS FOR YOU!
YOU ARE THE GREAT SUPER
AND MOST EXCLUSIVE
BOY♥S BE AMBITIOUS !
WITH OUT THE GAME♥S!
LET♥S TRY ANYTHING ELSE.
- 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).
- 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."
- 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.
- Zing Zing Zip has this message at the end:
YOU DID IT!!
THE EVIL EMPIRE !!
AND YOU CAN DO IT
YOU ATTACK TO
THE "MORE" EVIL EMPIRE !!
- 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."
- 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".
- 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.
- 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.
- 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+, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Shady's Poopong 20th Anniversary Edition's Boss Rush mode ends with a direct reference to the Trope Namer.
- 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%.
- Assassin's Creed I has a decent ending for the Altair 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The THQ game Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command is a fun game, which, unfortunately, not only has no real ending, but also has a ten-second cinematic showing your squad completely failing to achieve the objective of the entire game just played and letting loose a massive daemon that will destroy the system, before cutting to "Congratulations, you have completed the single-player game!" and rolling the same credits available on the main screen.
- The main storyline of Final Fantasy Tactics A2 has a proper ending, but the reward you get for beating all five level 99 clans in a bonus mission after you completed all 300 missions is just the credits. The same credits you get for beating the storyline. No Infinity +1 Sword or Bragging Rights Reward at all. Keep in mind that all of the clans in this bonus mission displays the finest examples of The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard. You can't even save afterwards, losing your experience and never having proof of actually beating it.
- 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.
- 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. Feel free to work out what her suicide means, but your guess is as good as anyone's.
- 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.
- 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.
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 her own after the game.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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..
- 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.
- Parodied again in this The Non-Adventures of Wonderella strip.
- Penny Arcade speculates on what really is supposed to happen when A Winner Is You.
- MS Paint Adventures:
- Lampooned by WrestleCrap's Blade Braxton as he provides commentary during a bizarre otherworld professional wrestling contest in The Crossoverlord. Below the comic is an animated GIF parodying the NES Pro Wrestling game.
- Cutewendy did a reference to the Trope Namer here.
- In Okashina Okashi during the Yu-Gi-Oh! satire: "I activate the miracle card 'A Winner Is Me!'"
- Also 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Simpsons - Bart's Pachinko machine says: "Youa winna. Hahaha. [looped]"
- 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.
- 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.