"Game over" is a message in video games which signals that people failed a game, commonly due to a negative outcome - although the phrase sometimes follows its score after successful completion of a game. The phrase has since seen wider use to describe the end of an event in real life.
Before the advent of home consoles and personal computing, arcades were the predominant platform for playing games, which required users to deposit a token or coin (traditionally a quarter, in the U.S) into an arcade game machine in order to play. Players would usually be given a finite number of lives (or attempts) to progress through the game, the exhaustion of which would usually result in the display of the message "Game Over" indicating that the game had ended. The phrase might also be followed by the message "Play Again?" and a prompt asking the player to insert additional tokens to prevent the game from terminating and instead allowing the player to continue their progress. The message can also be seen flashing on certain arcade games while in attract mode, until a player inserts a credit; at this point the message would change to the amount of credits inserted and "Press 1 or 2 player start", or some variation thereof.
As these games were ported to home consoles, the "Game Over" screen and "Continue?" prompt remained, but often required only the press of a button to keep the game going; while the video game industry shifted away from being arcade-focused to being home gaming-focused, the inclusion of such a screen was no longer as critical since it offered no financial benefit. However, the concept of Game Over remained imbued in the medium thereafter as a way to add an element of risk: a player who is unsuccessful at carrying out the game's objective (possibly repeatedly) will be faced with such a screen and be forced to start over from either the beginning of the game or a previous, saved state.
With the development of the aforementioned save function (complemented by the less popular password system, which is now seen as archaic), the Game Over message has become less common as players are allowed to respawn at a previous state of the game, which has been stored in memory either through a player deliberately saving the game or reaching a checkpoint (which causes the game to save automatically). Many modern games do not technically "end" until they are completed, and although "Game Over" screens remain present in many of them in some form or another it is exceptionally rare for them to signify a forced return to the beginning of the game.
"Game Over" has seen some variations in certain games. For instance, upon the death of the player character Little King's Story shows the message "LIFE OVER" and Catherine displays the message "LOVE IS OVER". Screens that display at equivalent points in other games are also considered "Game Over" screens, even if the message that is displayed is entirely different (such as "YOU ARE DEAD", seen in Resident Evil, God of War and Total Distortion, among others). Some game over variations use literary references such as Abandon All Hope in Devil May Cry 4, and Dante's Inferno which uses a quote from the book of the same name every time the player dies. In Super Street Fighter 2 the defeated character portrait stops moving and they scream in pain and fade into ash.
Notable "Game Over" screens
In Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, if the player runs out of lives in World 9, the Game Over screen looks different. Under the words that say Game Over, there is a message that reads: "YOU'RE A SUPER PLAYER! WE HOPE WE'LL SEE YOU AGAIN. MARIO AND STAFF."
In Super Mario 64, when Mario gets a Game Over, the player will return to the title screen, except the background is red and reads "Game Over". "Course Clear" music plays, slowly decreasing in pitch, and Mario's face looks worn out. The main menu music then rises back to its normal pitch. In Super Mario 64 DS, Mario's face doesn't appear, but the music decreasing pitch still plays. Also the background is dark grey instead of red.
In Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario Galaxy, and Super Mario Galaxy 2, the "Too Bad!" sign changes into a Game Over sign. In translated versions of Super Mario Sunshine, the "Too Bad!" sign says "Arrivederci", Italian for "goodbye". In the Japanese version, however, it says "Miss!" instead. In Super Mario Sunshine, the color is red, in Super Mario Galaxy, the color is purple, and in Super Mario Galaxy 2, the color is goldenrod.
In Super Mario 3D Land, there is a yellow background, and Mario or Luigi falls onto the ground, depressed, and the Game Over sign appears. If the player selects "Quit" on the Touch Screen, Mario or Luigi will become even more depressed and the game progress will be saved, but if the player selects "Continue", Mario or Luigi will happily run away. After this, he will go to the Hint Room, with a special power-up and a Toad explaining a basic use of the power-up to Mario, but only in the normal worlds. Super Mario 3D World also has the same game over screen and concept except it has a red background and when the player picks "Continue", all Toad Houses and Lucky Houses will be reopened.
In Paper Mario and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, the Game Over screen depicts Mario lying dead under a spotlight with the orange words GAME OVER while the classic Mario series game over theme plays. In Super Paper Mario, the music and the words remain, but the fallen Mario is not present. In Paper Mario: Sticker Star, it shows Mario lying dead and with the purple words "GAME OVER", similar to Paper Mario and Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, but without the spotlight and with a different tune.
In Luigi's Mansion and Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, when a game over occurs, instead of the usual game over sign, the text will read "Good Night!" as if Luigi has fainted and fell asleep. In the first game, when a game over occurs, the player will be taken back to the title screen, but in the sequel, the player is asked if they will restart to the beginning of the mission or return to the Bunker; however, in ScareScraper, when the player(s) fail(s) a floor, a game over occurs, but it will read "Game Over" instead of the usual "Good Night!". If playing local or download play, the host (player) will be asked if they can play again. The Luigi's Mansion beta's game over shows Luigi standing in front of the mansion with a depressed face.
In Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong's Quest, the Game Over screen consists of Diddy Kong and Dixie Kong appearing tied to each other in a dark cell, with Diddy having a scared face looking out the window and Dixie having a depressed face looking away. The screen then turns into a red tint. This also carries over to its GBA port.
In Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble, the Game Over screen consists of a image of Dixie Kong and Kiddy Kong in a dark room with a crib. Dixie appears to have an angry face, and Kiddy has a sad face (this image was also shown in error screens). The screen ends with a door shutting. This once again carries over to its GBA port.
In Donkey Kong 64, if the player chooses Quit in the pause menu, a brief cinematic appears showing King K. Rool laughing maniacally and crazily while aiming the Blast-O-Matic at Donkey Kong Island; this cinematic also shows up if the Kongs fail to shut down the Blast-O-Matic genetrator.
In Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time there are two game over screens. One of them appears if Mario and Co. are felled in battle, which have eerie purple, smoky text which seem to allude to the Shroobs. The other one appears if they lose the battle against the Shroob UFOs (or later, the Shroob Mothership) in Shroob Castle), which shows the party depressed while Shroob laughter is heard in the background, symbolizing their conquest succeeded.
In Mario vs. Donkey Kong, the Game Over screen depicts a depressed Mario and the outlined words "GAME OVER", as well as two choices, "Restart" and "Quit". If the player selects "Restart", the stage where the player lost will be restarted, but if the player selects "Quit", the game will return to the stage select screen. In Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis, the sign has a wobbly red font, and there is a depressed Mini Mario in place of Mario. In international versions of Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis (including Europe), the font looks different.
In the WarioWare games, if the player loses all 4 lives on a stage, a Game Over occurs, with a differing design and font, depending on the stage the player is playing.
Wario Land 3 has a very unique Game Over screen. Wario is ordinarily invincible in this game; the only possible way to get a Game Over at all is to lose to the final boss, which is the only enemy that can actually kill him. Even so, he can still get right back up and try again.
In Super Mario Kart, if the player is out of chances to retry, a Game Over sign with a white, bubbly font will bounce into the screen. If 2 players lose all chances at the same time, there will be 2 Game Overs. If one player loses all chances while the other player continues, there will be a Game Over while racing. Also, if the player finishes a cup in 4th place or below, a Game Over occurs, but will read...
"[X]cc [name of cup] CUP RACE
[character's name] CAME IN [X]TH PLACE.
...instead of the Game Over sign. Starting from Mario Kart 64, with the exception of Mario Kart: Super Circuit, there are no chances, so Game Overs will only occur if the player finishes a cup in 4th place or below in Grand Prix mode, that don't have the usual "Game Over" text.
In Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, there is a fountain on the summit of Mount Pajamaja. If Mario and Luigi drink from it, they will fall fast asleep and have a nightmare about getting giant after eating too many Mushrooms, and realize they cannot survive like this. A few moments after the "Game Over" screen fades in, Prince Dreambert yells "MARIO! LUIGI! WAKE UP! NOW!". The player only sees the nightmare the first time the Bros. use the fountain, the other times, it just cuts to when the Bros. wake up.
Game Overs also appear in the Nintendo Adventure Books, used after a bad ending(s) has(ve) occurred. An example of getting a Game Over in these books is in Leaping Lizards, where an Anchor is a dud item; it will drag Luigi down if he falls into a body of water.
Game Overs appear in the Mario comics of the Nintendo Comics System, ending the story. They appear in the final page on one corner of it.
Outside video gaming
The phrase is occasionally used to indicate the end of an argument or process in real life. In January 2011, protesters and rioters in several North African and Middle Eastern countries used the slogan "Game Over" on banners to express their anti-government sentiments.
"Game over" is also sometimes used as a phrase to concede defeat, as for example in the movie Aliens where one of the protagonists, Private William Hudson (Bill Paxton), shouts, "Game over, man!" after the dropship meant to rescue him and his expedition is destroyed. Paxton's use of the phrase was popularised to the extent that it was included in Microsoft Fury3 in 1995, possibly inadvertently. Later it was used in shortened form in the SNES game adaptation of Alien 3, despite the Hudson character not appearing in the film. Rights issues prevented the actual audio from Aliens being used and the sample was a rerecording made by Paxton specifically for the game. Interestingly, the 'Game Over' line for which Hudson is arguably most well-known wasn't even in the 'Aliens' script, but was a spur-of-the-moment ad lib by Paxton.
The phrase is also used various times in the Saw movie series, because of the antagonist's penchant for referring to the traps he creates as "games".
|Look up game over in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Attract mode
- Checkpoint (video gaming)
- Continue (video gaming)
- Video games with multiple endings
- Kill screen
- For example, at the end of mobigame edge
- 1950 pinball machine patent
- 'Game Over' for your government?
- "Aliens (1986) - Memorable quotes". IMDB. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
- Game Over: Alien 3
- A Day Before Egyptian Coup, Protestors Flashed Giant ‘Game Over’ Sign