Making the Most of Game Overs

The good old game over screen.  It’s been around since God looked upon the world, saw that there was too much human suffering, and balanced things out by giving us video games.  It’s been falling out of use in recent years, although it’s not hard to see why.  After all, for most games, a game over is just as much a failure state for the game itself as it is for the player.  A good game wants to push the player to their limits, to drag them to the border of death, but not go over.  If the player loses and has to start over, that kills all the tension the gameplay’s built up and replaces any emotional heights previously achieved with base frustration.  So of course games are going to want to skip over these, to get the player back into the game as much as possible.

Not all games have held that mentality, however.  Just like everything else, in the right hands, game over screens can be a tool to further what a developers trying to accomplish with their games.  Here’s a couple instances in which I think they’ve been done particularly well.

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