10 Unintentionally Hilarious Vintage Video Game Endings

10 Unintentionally Hilarious Vintage Video Game Endings

Every fairy tale needs an end, whether it’s a Norse epic God of War: Ragnarok or save the princess in Super Mario. Most video games have endings because that’s the goal people are working towards. That said, not all video game endings are necessarily poignant or fitting.

The 80s and 90s were a fun time for video games. It was slowly but surely entering the mainstream. Even old arcade games that existed to eat as many quarters from kids as possible had some sort of ending. When the developers take “liberties” with said endings, the results are hilarious.


Hot Girl Summer – Street Fighter II

Chun li lets her hair down

Chun Li is considered by many to be the matriarch of the representation of women in video games. She was a badass cop who still found time to be fashionable and help the kids. Her backstory, seeking justice for her father’s death at the hands of M. Bison, comes to a close in her arcade ending.

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Charmingly, she metaphorically (and literally) lets her hair down, excited at the prospect of being a young, single girl again. It’s easy to forget that at the end of the day, Chun Li has a life outside of fighting psychic war criminals. The streets are simply not ready for party girl Chun Li.

A Living Nightmare – Ghosts ‘n Goblins

It was all an illusion in Ghosts n Goblins

Notorious for its incredible difficulty even in an age of difficult Capcom games, Ghost ‘n Goblins is either loved or hated by retro fans. After defying the monsters of the dark overlord who captured the princess, Arthur finally defeats his opponent. Except that’s not really what happens.

This was only the first “end”. It is revealed that the entire sequence was a dream that Arthur was cursed by the villain. Now that they are actually awake, it’s time to save the princess for real. Many arcade machines developed mysterious boot-shaped dents after this carpet move.

The Real World – Golden Axe

Golden Ax arcade ending isekai

Golden axe is a classic SEGA arcade hack-n-slash with everything an 80s fantasy aesthetic little kids could want. Fantastic beasts, muscular heroes and dark overlords at the end of the adventure. The game greets the player with a typical victory screen first, before mysteriously zooming out.

It has been revealed Golden axe was a game within a game the entire time. The player simply controlled another player, in this case a teenage boy. Much to their shock, the arcade machine they are playing on explodes causing Golden Axes villains to destroy the “real world”. Congratulations, a great evil has been unleashed.

Screaming Skull – Narc

Mr. Big's final skeletal form

Narc was a game that was clearly made to make money OUR scare campaigns sweeping the nation at the time. As such, it is over the top in the best (or worst, depending on one’s personal opinions) possible way in its dealings with drug dealers. Namely with excessive violence and firepower. Finally, the player meets the infamous Mr. Big in his penthouse to end the drug trade once and for all.

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A shootout ensues, but the real surprise comes when he transforms into a screaming skull, slashing his teeth at the player. There was no indication of supernatural elements before this, so the contrast of a clearly demonic skull against normal guys with guns is fun in itself.

Burgers and fries – Bad Dudes

Ronnie asks for a burger

If ever there was a video game that defined the 80s urban aesthetic, this would be it Bad boys. The premise is silly enough, with two street-smart brawlers who are hired by the Secret Service after the “wiped out ninja crime” results in “President Ronnie” being kidnapped. After fighting their way through hordes of ninjas, the dynamic duo rescue President Ronnie, and he thanks them in a surprisingly calm manner.

He then offers to have burgers and fries with the two youngsters, and the game ends with a shot of President Ronnie laughing while eating a burger. It was clear from the start that this wasn’t a serious game, but the random nature of everyone involved in a kidnapping is pretty funny.

Celebrity Impersonation – Cruis’n World

Cruis'n world bill clinton with scantily clad women

If Bad boys was the epitome of “cool kids” in the 80s Cruise’n World was an unapologetic send-up to the culture of rebellious excess in the 90s. After an entire game’s worth of being put on nice, solid earth, the ending rewards the player by taking them to the moon to party with “celebrity impersonator” President Bill Clinton.

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The player knows they are impersonators because the game does them the favor of flashing it in big blue letters before the moon trip. It was, of course, meant to be funny for its time. However, the overly tense narrative, over-the-top aesthetic and scantily clad women place it firmly in embarrassing territory, albeit in a nostalgic way.

Fantastic! – Takeshi’s challenge

Takeshi roasts the player

Noted as one of the hardest video games of all time, Takeshi’s challenge was innovative in the way it made players tear their hair out. It was a proto-Sandbox world, giving the player freedom in what they wanted to pursue first. It even necessitated the use of voice commands at a time when most people didn’t even know consoles had microphones.

After the grueling journey of going through the game’s less-than-obvious solutions, the player finally finds the fabled treasure they’ve been working for. However, there is no grand music or grand reveal. Only a smiling Takeshi either congratulates you with bad English. If they wait long enough, Takeshi asks the player why they even completed this “dumb game.” It should be mentioned that Takeshi was drunk during most of the game’s development and hated video games.

And Cut! – Altered Beast

Altered Beast behind the scenes moments

Altered Beast was a largely forgotten beat-em-up game by Sega in the 1980s. It was a standard premise, as the player is tasked with rescuing Zeus’ daughter from an evil sorcerer. The story follows the beats that most would expect. While the player celebrates beating the game, however, they are not the only ones celebrating.

It is suddenly revealed that the whole story was a film shoot. There were no real wizards, monsters or a girl to save. They were all paid actors, who immediately left the set for a night on the town. It’s a pretty funny and meta ending that points out how oversaturated the gaming market has become with these kinds of stories.

Violent Wingman – Final Fight

Final Fight Cody and Jessica

The first Last match fondly remembered as one of the best beat-em-up games of all time. Cody and Guy would go on to become mainstays in Street Fighter franchise as a result. In the end, Cody and Guy end up rescuing the girl. Cody being Cody, however, awkwardly shuffles off as Jessica chases after him.

Guy, usually the stoic one, gets fed up with Cody ignoring her and beats him so Jessica can talk to Cody. Despite the sudden setback, players can’t help but laugh at how Guy stands up for his two friends, even if he has to talk to them with his fists. Sometimes a wingman has to improvise.

This is a fatality – Mortal Kombat 4

Sonya battles Jarek in Mortal Kombat 4

Mortal Kombat 4 is a polarizing title among fans of the bloody franchise. On the one hand, it signaled the end of the 2D style Mortal Kombat game for an entire decade. The shift to 3D was not nearly as smooth as birthed 3D fighters such as The thatch and Virtua Fighter either. On the other hand, it has one of the most amazing endings in it Mortal Kombats history.

Most veteran Mortal Kombat fans can probably recite Jax’s arcade ending by heart. The voice acting is so atrocious it goes back to being brilliant. So many questions like “Why didn’t Jax just save Sonya if he was only a few feet away” or “How did Jarek climb the cliff the first time despite running head first” are never answered. It’s just Jarek’s funny scream.

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