Game Ends

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Many games provide for ways in which players can determine if a game has ended or not. There are many different possibilities for determining that a certain game has ended such as the player successfully completing the games goals, the player exhausting his available lives or simply running out of time.

We note that ending a game does not necessarily have to have a negative (or positive) connotation associated to it, it simply reflects the fact that the game has ended. In fact, once a game has ended, the way in which it ended is evaluated and determined to be either positive, negative or neutral. For example finishing the last level of a game like Super Mario World is generally considered winning, while losing all ones lives is considered losing.

There are many different ways for a game to end, and in many cases it is possible for many of them to occur simultaneously. For example, a player may simultaneously reach the narrative conclusion of a game in parallel with the gameworld exhaustion. The last location visited may be tied to the end of the story, though this is not necessarily the case.


Strong Examples

Super Metroid

Super Metroid for the SNES has a very straightforeward and classic game ending. The quest for the entire game was to destroy the "mother brain", so once the player kills it, Samus (the charicter) places a bomb and the player must then escape the gameworld as quickly as possible by running out of the last bossfight room to the innitial game starting point, and escape in Samus's ship. The world explodes and the player is rewarded with a "Mission Complete" screen, and then the final credits. There is no more gameplay after this, and the player must load a save that is before the final boss to play anymore.

Final Fantasy VI

In Final Fantasy VI, the final boss fight is the epitome of a game ending. After defeating the last boss, Kefka, the player gets series of cutscenes of which lead the player to believe " everyone lived happily ever after." There are no chances to save after complete so the only way to play that game file is to load the game where you have not defeated the boss yet. There is no additional content past the last boss fight.

Fifa Street 2

Once the player successfully plays all the soccer matches and completes all the main objectives, his or her file is locked. The player can no longer access his or her file, because everything has been completed and there is nothing more to do, essentially the game is over.

Texas Hold'em

In Tournament style Texas Hold'em there is a definite endgame. Each player starts with a set amount of chips and as the tourney progresses players lose their chips to other players until there is only one person with all the players chips. This is when the game ends and the player with all the chips is proclaimed the winner.

Zelda: Ocarina of Time

In Zelda: Ocarina of Time, there is an obvious ending of the game. It is directly represented by a final boss fight that the character has been working towards for the entire game. Once this is completed, the player views a final cut scene that freezes at a very familar point and ceases to respond to any type of player input. At this point there is a definite game end. The player can repeat this fight over and over again but will never get any further than that ending screen.

Jak and Daxter

In the Playstation 2 game Jak and Daxter, there is a final boss, and once defeated, the player has no more to do in the game. If 100 Power Cells were obtained, there is an extra ending, but the player still does not have anything more to work towards in the game.


DDRMax for Playstation 2 is a strong example of a game with a definite end. In game mode there are three songs the player must pass before receiving a high score. If the player fails one, the screen says game over and the game returns to the MODE SELECT screen. On the other hand, if a player passes all three songs of his or her choice, the player inputs their name for the high score table. After this, the player returns to MODE SELECT. Both of these endings are clear and certain.

Super Mario Brothers 3

Super Mario Brothers 3 is a game with many different rules to follow and different levels to pass. Once you have defeated all the adventures and obstacles put in your path throughout all the levels, the game is over and there is nothing else to achieve in the game.

Counter Strike

The game ends after all the players on one of the teams die. It is a very clear game ending because the game then starts over with all of the players once again. There is no reward or anything at the end of each gameplay, just the team that wins gets the feeling of accomplishment for defeating the other team. Counter Strike is a game where the game end is very clear and then the gameplay begins again.

Phantasy Star IV

This RPG is a strong example of a game ending. After the player progresses through the narrative storyline and defeats the final boss, the game ends. There are no more objectives for the player and the player can no longer save their game after defeating the final boss.

Final Fantasy 9

Final Fantasy 9 is a strong example of a game end. The story comes to a climax and the player fights a final boss, and then the credits roll and the "game over" screen is shown. There are no unlockables and no extra content at the end, when the game is finished the only thing left to do is to play through it again.

Golden Eye 007 64

Golden Eye for Nintendo 64 is a strong example of a game with clear game ending. The main character James Bond is only allowed a certain amount of damages before he perishes and he fails the mission. The game is clearly over when all missions have been successfully completed under each classification of agent and since levels are merely tasks that must be accomplished, game play becomes repetitive.

F.E.A.R. (First Encounter Assault Recon)

This game exhibits a narrative game ending which happens when you, as a F.E.A.R. Agent, find and exterminate the main villain. There are no extra game bonuses at the end of F.E.A.R., the storyline just ends.

Weak Examples

Saint's Row

Saint's Row is a weak example of Game End. There are of course goals and objectives that allow a player to face challenge but once completed, nothing really happens. You see somewhat of a progression throughout the game but once the game is completed you are able to do more things. This game provides an open world where the player chooses to do anything the player wants. This game presents no real game ending.


The Pokemon series (excluding spin offs such as Pokemon Pinball, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, Ranger etc…) is considered a weak example of a game end, as the main narrative story line encounters an ending, but the game play and the gameworld remains whole and very much playable. After the main storyline is completed players are then encouraged to explore the gameworld, which after narrative completion often has special features unlocked. Players may also continue training their pokemon, and as the catch phrase goes, "catch 'em all." in later games such as Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire/Crystal mini games, challenges, and features exist outside narrative and basic battle challenges allowing for further gameplay outside of the narrative. Examples include: secret bases, pokemon contests, berry collection, friend battling, and gambling.

NBA Shootout 2005

There is no way to truly beat this game entirely. You could win the championship but then you can play again with another team. Win a game but then you have to play another. There are so many things that you can do with this game there is never any clear ending that you are aiming for. Even when your character gathers enough points to be invited into the hall of fame you can still play games with him, nothing really stops. No clear ending makes the game a weak example of Game Ends.


Pacman is a weak example of Game Ends because, althoug there is supposed to be an unlimited number of levels, there is a bug where the game continues past level 255 even though the maze isn't displayed properly on the screen. This makes it almost impossible to play. In this case, we could argue that by design Pac-Man doesn't end, but due to a technical problem, it does.