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Brutal Ways Games Let You Know You Messed Up

Losing a boss fight in a game or getting stuck on a particularly difficult level can be frustrating. Sometimes, there are those puzzles you can't seem to crack. Other times, you can't get past the "Cave of Wonders" level on Aladdin for Sega Genesis. But those frustrating situations are usually the result of difficult game design or a lack of player skill. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. All gamers have come across moments where they manage to mess badly. And in those moments, you'd like nothing more than to slink off in embarrassment. But not all games will let you.


Sometimes, game developers take great pleasure in pointing out the mistakes you made. Whether you died in a stupid way, tried to cheat, or simply made some bad choices, there are some developers who will put a spotlight on your failure to highlight just how humiliating it is. And while a lot of the call outs are funny, they aren't quite as enjoyable when you're on the receiving end. All in all, it's best to just avoid these dumb mistakes if you want to keep your ego intact.

Don't touch the laser control in System Shock

Looking Glass Studios' 1994 release of System Shock sees an unnamed hacker trying to fight against a hostile AI named SHODAN. It's clear from the protagonist's backstory that he wasn't exactly the most upstanding citizen. His decision to hand over dangerous amounts of power to the highest bidder is questionable at best. But throughout the course of the game, you're given the opportunity to redeem yourself. 


Towards the end of the game, players will find themselves in a room with a button clearly marked "Laser Control." If the person controlling our unnamed hacker has paid any attention to the game whatsoever, they'll know that this is the laser that's been primed to take out the major cities on earth so that SHODAN can take over. That being said, it should be obvious what pushing the button will do. If you decide to proceed to push the button, you'll effectively blow up the earth and get a game over. But before the game ends, you'll be treated to a message thanking you for making the cyborg's job so easy by taking humans out for them. Talk about bad consequences.

Eleanor Lamb is watching what you do in BioShock 2

Unless you're trying to get the bad ending, games that present players with a moral decision can be stressful. But these decisions aren't always as obviously black and white as some would hope. In 2010's BioShock 2, players are presented with morally grey choices throughout the narrative. In addition to saving or harvesting Little Sisters, players will have to decide if they will kill or spare three neutral NPCs. While some of them are bad, others tell you that it's the right choice to kill them.


If, however, players decide to kill two of the three neutral NPCs or a good majority of the Little Sisters, it's not just the ending of the game that turns out badly. When you rescue Eleanor Lamb, you'll take over the body of a Little Sister. If you killed too many NPCs, then when Eleanor is rescued by the Little Sister you inhabit, she'll ruthlessly kill the young child, saying that she's following the example that you set for her. If that isn't a brutal guilt trip about your awful parenting skills, nothing is.

Questions can be brutal in The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine

Many of the enemies Geralt comes across in The Witcher 3 are creepy in their own right, but one of the most unsettling is The Unseen Elder. His dedication to living his life in solitude gives him an aggressive edge when that solace is interrupted by the player. Though your interruption isn't an automatic death sentence, it's important to note that you will be treading on dangerous ground the second you enter his lair.


Throughout The Witcher 3, players are given a variety of dialogue prompts to choose from. With The Unseen Elder, there's only one right answer in your available dialogue. Players will receive one warning from him that he doesn't want to talk about anything with you. If players deviate more than once from a topic The Unseen Elder isn't keen on discussing, their punishment will be immediate and final. It won't take a genius to know you've messed up, since he will automatically use his sharp claw-like nails to kill the player as soon as they've asked the wrong question. In his defense, you did invade his personal space.

Limbo has no time for your tiny mistakes

Most puzzle games come with a bit of a learning curve. The whole point of the game is to be challenged mentally and spend your time figuring out the best way around an obstacle. But the recent rise of indie side-scrollers has given us a new element in our puzzles: a brutal death. Indie platformers like Playdead Studios' Limbo and Inside and Tarsier Studios' Little Nightmares have brought the concept of "trial and death" into popularity.


When you mess up in a first-person shooter, you'll usually know right away. The fact that you sometimes die is an expected outcome of your failure. Games with extensive dialogue options and numerous choices may be a bit less obvious in the ways gamers are punished for making a mistake. But titles like Limbo have earned their unique place in the gaming community by punishing even minor mistakes with brutal and graphic death animations. These death scenes are often so shocking that players aren't quite sure what they did wrong. While the scenes may be jarring, the effect is lasting.

Getting knocked out early is brutal in Slime Rancher

When discussing games that brutally punish players for messing something up, the laid back and colorful world of Slime Rancher may not be the first thing that comes to mind. And while the Tarr Slimes may be terrifying, they aren't exactly a consequence of a mess up. Though trying to keep all of your slimes happy and safe on the ranch can sometimes be a handful, the most brutal thing in Slime Rancher comes in the form of a snarky achievement you probably don't want to earn. 


In keeping with the family-friendly vibe of Slime Rancher, players won't actually die when they get hurt in the game. Instead, they'll be "knocked out", only to be returned to their home the next morning with their inventory depleted. But if players manage to get themselves knocked out before the clock reaches 10 a.m., they'll not only lose their inventory and be returned to the ranch, but they'll earn the eternal shame of the achievement "Not My Morning." As if the humiliation of your defeat wasn't bad enough, now the sarcastic achievement that immortalizes your idiocy will mar your profile forever.

Cheating in The Stanley Parable has serious repercussions

The fourth-wall-breaking game The Stanley Parable is a standout title for a number of reasons. With dialogue that often gets more meta than any given season of CommunityThe Stanley Parable will narrate your every move with the rich voice of Kevan Brighting. Throughout the story, you can choose to either abide by what the narrator is saying or completely disregard him. Things unravel quickly the more you disobey the narrator. And while it's clear that breaking the rules can lead to some problems, there's one thing that crosses the line.


Any gamer found using cheat codes in The Stanley Parable will be immediately punished. The second the cheat code is entered, players are transported to a sparse room. The narrator will then tell them that they have been placed in "the serious room" because of their attempt to cheat. It has the most serious table the narrator was able to find. And because of your bad choice, you are now sentenced to "infinity years" in the room. The only way to get out is to completely restart the game. 

Don't jump into Wheatley's death pit in Portal 2

Valve's puzzle game Portal 2 gives you a good reason to fear the imminent uprising of AI technology. With GLaDOS constantly hurling insults at you for every mistake you make, it's no wonder things get hostile fast. But GLaDOS isn't the only AI that players need to contend with. Your trusted companion Wheatley proves to be less than reliable once he's given power over the Aperture Science facility. 


While running through the gamut of tests Wheatley has prepared, gamers can try to make their escape. Panicking, Wheatley will plead with gamers to throw themselves into a pit that will obviously kill them. The smart thing to do is walk away. But for those players who decide that the clearly false promises of your birth parents, a pony farm, and cute boys at the bottom of the pit are a good reason to jump, you'll be sorry. Not only will GLaDOS berate you, but even Wheatley will admit he didn't think you were gullible enough to do it. When an AI specifically made to come up with bad ideas questions your reasoning, you know you're in trouble.

Is there anything more brutal than a chicken in a Legend of Zelda game?

Zelda has always been a series about good versus evil. And while many video games like to toy with the idea that there are grey areas where the protagonist may be a bit of both, Link has always fallen squarely into the "good" category. Saving the princess, destroying the bad guy, and helping NPCs along the way are just some of the good guy traits Link possesses. This is why, if you choose to stray even a smidge from that path of light, things will turn sour quickly.


If players decide to start killing chickens in the Zelda games, the game itself is quick to correct this journey into the dark side before it can even get started. After all, how can Link be a "good guy" if he's killing innocent animals? As soon as Link hits too many poultry, karma comes for him. In something that can only be described as a tornado of chickens, Link will find himself overcome by swarms of seemingly unkillable avian avengers, out to exact revenge on the fallen hero. The humiliation of death by chicken is usually enough to keep players from repeating the same mistake twice.

Beware the kitchen fires in Overcooked

The 2016 cooking simulator Overcooked was an unexpected hit upon its release. And while the premise of a cooking game doesn't necessarily sound like something that was missing in our lives, it proved to be wildly entertaining. In the game, you are tasked with filling food orders while battling a number of barriers. Changing countertops and kitchens on moving trucks are just some of the obstacles you'll come into contact with. But of all of the possible ways you can mess up in this cooking simulator, failing to keep an eye on the stove may be the worst.


The hectic atmosphere of Overcooked causes a lot of things to go out the window. Health and safety regulations are usually at the bottom of the list of priorities. But if players forget to watch their stove top closely, they'll be rewarded with a pressing issue that can't be ignored: fire. The fires in Overcooked's kitchens are legendary. They spread quickly, put up a fight when you attempt to extinguish them, and seem to start too easily. If you don't give your kitchen enough attention, this not-so-subtle reminder is sure to put you back on track.

Having your child taken away in The Sims

There are a lot of ways things can go wrong in The Sims. Your characters can be abducted by aliens, wet themselves, burn their house down, or even die. But few consequences are as much of a punch in the gut as getting your children taken away. The thing that stings the most is the fact that it can often happen even when you think you're being a good parent. But with the many distractions available in The Sims, even the most attentive player is bound to slip up sometimes.


While some CPS interventions in The Sims are obvious, others may come out of nowhere.  If the player doesn't make sure the baby is constantly looked after, it may be only a matter of time before CPS removes the child from your virtual house. This can be devastating for those Sim parents who thought they were doing a good job. And in the numerous ways you can find out you've done something wrong in The Sims, this route is usually the most shame-inducing. 

Don't accidentally shoot NPCs in Prey

In the world of first person shooter games, NPCs usually fall into one of three categories: hostile, neutral, or friendly. In the Arkane Studios FPS game Prey, almost all human characters fall into the "neutral" category. They will react appropriately to anything the protagonist Morgan does. But what happens when you accidentally provoke one of the neutral mobs?


Most gamers can control who or what they shoot during their gameplay, but some situations make that distinction difficult. In Prey, while Morgan is in the Cargo Bay, players are tasked with helping the survivors of Talos I by gathering turrets and helping them fight off the Typhon threat. But the most difficult thing happens when the Cargo Bay doors are opened and the Typhon enemies come pouring in. If you manage to accidentally shoot one of your human allies in the fight, the NPCs will stop attacking the Typhon and will attack you instead, converging on you so quickly that you have no chance to fight back. Your almost instant death will let you know you've messed up the second you misfire.