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Top 10 Game Over Screens

VO: Dan
If there's one thing all games have in common, it's some sort of game over screen. These are the messages, images and animations that fill you in on the obvious, give you a chance to continue or simply mock you for your lack of skill. The best of these go the extra mile to get your adrenaline pumping or give you something to talk about with friends. Join as we count down our top 10 favorite game over screens.

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Top 10 Game Over Screens

Aww now they’re just rubbing our face in it.... Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our top 10 favorite game over screens.

#10 - Street Fighter II (1991)

Kicking off our list is the coin-operated tournament game that left unlucky players clamoring to save their character, who was left bloody and bruised after losing a battle. With the spotlights on them and the ref counting down, you’re beckoned to pop in another few coins to keep the fight going. Unwilling to pay…then prepare to hear your character cry out in agony and die as the screen fades to black.

#9 - Banjo Kazooie (2008)

In this game by Rare, a bear and his bird must save his sister Tooty, classic. The premise here is that the ugly witch Gruntilda wants to steal her beauty. So, when you die, you’re actually shown what happens to the hapless damsel. Namely, Gruntilda succeeds in syphoning all of your sister’s good looks. So while the witch comes off looking rather datable, your sister is turned into a hideous monster, who’s not too pleased with you.

#8 - Batman Arkham Series (2009-)

One of the reasons that this is considered the best Batman video game series, let alone the best comic book game series ever, is its attention to detail and respect for the characters. Here, every major villain is given several of their own unique celebratory game over screens in which they get one last taunt in on you before you succumb to unconsciousness. Watchmojo favorites include Bane breaking the Bat and Clayface telling you what he’s gonna do next.

#7 - Conker’s Bad Fur Day (2001)

In Rare’s lowbrow classic, you play an alcoholic squirrel who’s hunted by an evil Panther king, who wants to use you to replace a broken table leg. As ludicrous as that set up is, when you lose all your lives you see that actual situation play out, with the Panther drinking his glass of milk while Conker is forced to spend the rest of his days propping up the table.

#6 - Ninja Gaiden (1988)

Ever feel bad about running out of quarters at the arcade? Well running out of HP in this game results in Ryu getting trapped in the film ‘Saw’. Well not literally, but you do see him tied to a table as a saw inches towards him while the timer counts down. Failure to cough up the cash meant painting the room Ninja Red. This one is memorable because it sent a message: pay up or we’ll cut you.

#5- Mortal Kombat 4 (1997)

Mortal Kombat is known for being absolutely brutal. So it is with this game over countdown screen that you get to witness the horror of your character getting randomly dropped towards a gruesome end, that is, if you don’t throw them a line. It would be one thing if your character was just falling, but the spinning in free fall really helps you feel the urgency, that is before getting impaled on a bed of spikes.

#4 - Sega Rally (1994)

Leave it to Sega to give a racing game a boatload of personality with a simple upbeat one liner, while simultaneously putting a positive spin on your failure. It may just be a quick little jingle, but who didn’t love hearing this melody every time they failed to cross the finish line? Let’s play it again!

#3 - The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (2000)

In Zelda’s dark version of “Groundhog’s Day”, an evil moon is on route and threatens to kill everyone within 72 Hours. The result of not stopping it or looping back early is an epic display of the moon striking Termina. This showcases it decimating everything in sight, while a shockwave of fire burns Link alive. Kid’s game my ass. Even worse, once dead, Majora laughs and taunts you by saying “You’ve met with a terrible fate. Haven’t you?” Sheesh, way to rub it in!

#2 - Metal Gear Solid Series (1988-)

The death of Solid Snake is a curious and iconic one. Whenever getting critically hit, he lets out a pain stricken yell before collapsing. This spurs not only a flashy game over text, but for his radiophone to go crazy with calls, and the incoming caller to cry out his name. Do spies not text?

#1 - Total Distortion (1995)

Taking the top spot on our list is the game over screen from the full motion adventure game in which you play a music video entrepreneur that gets stuck in the distorted dimension, a realm made up of pop cultural elements. There you battle guitar warriors in musical encounters. Losing one of these fights meant getting dismissed by your opponent in a catchy song.... Try getting that out of your head…

Agree with our list? Which game over screen made you want to fail again? For more entertaining top 10s, be sure to subscribe to

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