Game Termination Penalties

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The penalty of having one's game session terminated while the game instance continues.

This pattern is a still a stub.

Note: this pattern is based on the concept "Game termination punishment" by Juul[1].


Using the pattern

The consequence of Game Termination Penalties are pretty obvious but designing them have options regarding what causes them and details on how they can be avoided or secondary effects they can have. They are typically caused by Death Consequences or Life Penalties when one only has one Life left. The possibility of Late Arriving Players is important to consider when using Game Termination Penalties. This since if it is easy to rejoin the game, e.g. through putting in a new coin in a Gauntlet arcade machine, the Game Termination Penalties stops being one and instead being a temporary Penalty. The Penalty experienced still qualifies as a Game Termination Penalty if some time has to pass and/or players need to perform certain actions, e.g. creating new Characters in a Roleplaying Games. Likewise, the number of times players have Extra Chances or Fudged Results can influence Game Termination Penalties in the same way.

Since Winning by Ending Gameplay is a Reward rather than a Penalty, this pattern is difficult to combine with Game Termination Penalties. Likewise, Fake Game Overs can seem to be Game Termination Penalties but aren't. However, they can be used in Unwinnable Games or those who have a Winner determined after Gameplay Ends.

Narration Aspects

Some games, e.g. GURPS, open up for players to perform "dying actions" when experiencing Game Termination Penalties. While this may work against Diegetic Consistency it can support narration well and save narration structures from collapsing.


Game Termination Penalties are Penalties that result in Player Elimination and Game Over for the players affected.


Can Instantiate

Game Over, Penalties, Player Elimination

Can Modulate

Winner determined after Gameplay Ends, Unwinnable Games

Can Be Instantiated By

Death Consequences, Life Penalties

Can Be Modulated By

Extra Chances, Fudged Results, Late Arriving Players

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Extra Chances, Fake Game Overs, Fudged Results, Late Arriving Players, Winning by Ending Gameplay


New pattern created in this wiki. However it is based on the concept "Game termination punishment" introduced by Juul[1].


  1. 1.0 1.1 Juul, J. (2009). Fear of Failing? The Many Meanings of Difficulty in Video Games. In Perron, B. & Wolf, M.J.P. (eds.): The Video Game Theory Reader 2, 2009.