Game Over

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The event which makes a player no long able to participate in the gameplay of a game instance.

Most games are design to end at some point, and some are designed to make some players stop playing before all other do. A Game Over event is when a player is locked out from gameplay due to some rule in the game.


Asteroids, Donkey Kong, Outrun, Pong, and Pac-Man are all games where players experience Game Over when they run out of lives. However, in original Arcade version it was possible to pay for more lives. Gauntlet is a latter example.

Getting killed in the Counter-Strike series or losing one's last card in Coup results in players being thrown out of the game. However, since each game round is so short and one typically play many rounds back-to-back, the effects of Game Over are not too severe.

Using the pattern

Designing Game Over events in a game consists of choosing what causes them. A typical cause is simple that it is Death Consequence, typically cause by losing all Lives or suffering from a Permadeath. However, Player Elimination (and Team Elimination) or Player Kicking can also function as can Time Limits that create Time Limited Game Instances. Of course, winning a game also causes a Game Over but the pattern can also be applied to Unwinnable Games since Game Over events can be penalties.

End State Scoring is an option to add some Tension after gameplay has ended and can be used to support Winner determined after Gameplay Ends. Related to this, players are encouraged to create Game Over events for everyone when Speedending is perceived as a good strategy. Another, which adds a consequence and possible goal to want to reach a Game Over event, is to use Winning by Ending Gameplay. Pay to Play is an option to let players begin playing again if they are willing to play.


Game Over causes players to not be able to play. In practice this becomes Downtime if another game instance will start soon, as is the structure of quick games such as Coup or The Resistance but otherwise can force the former players to start doing something else. Unless Game Over occurs to all players at the same time in Multiplayer Games, it can create Unsynchronized Game Sessions.

The introduction of Game Over events being possible is likely to create Extermination phases. Likewise, identifiable points in gameplay time when the risk of Game Over events increase markedly can also signify the beginning of Extermination phases.


Can Instantiate

Downtime, Extermination

with Multiplayer Games

Unsynchronized Game Sessions

Can Modulate

Unwinnable Games, Winner determined after Gameplay Ends

Can Be Instantiated By

Death Consequences, Lives, Permadeath, Player Elimination, Player Kicking, Speedending, Team Elimination, Time Limited Game Instances, Time Limits, Winning by Ending Gameplay, Winning the game

Can Be Modulated By

End State Scoring, Pay to Play

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



New pattern created in this wiki.