What is a Dead End? [Gaming Definition, Meaning]

For gamers, there are two results that will infuse them with utter despair. One is the dreaded Game Over screen which signifies failure. You’re then going to have to either restart from a checkpoint or face even worse consequences such as restarting from a save file if the game happens to be a JRPG. Then the other screen more commonly seen in Japanese orientated games is a screen saying Dead End. If you haven’t heard of the cursed Dead End screen, then let us here at Honey’s Anime school you with some gaming knowledge.

Welcome one and all to our What is a Dead End article. Today our goal is to explain Dead Ends and what games use them. This way if you ever so happen to play a game where the screen pops up with these usually creepy game ending pathways, you’ll understand why and for what reason occurred in the first place. Plus, we’ll make sure you equally realize what games typically contain the Dead End paths as well because Dead Ends aren’t always considered bad, ironically enough. By the end of our What is a Dead End article, your gaming knowledge will most certainly increase by a few dozen points, maybe even enough to level you up. Now without anymore delay, let us begin schooling you all with our gaming knowhow!

An ending but…

Commonly the Dead End screen shows up in games that offer players one of multiple endings to obtain. For many games—including the ones we’re about to mention down below—these are endings to the story and possible what if scenarios. Though these endings are still considered undesirable endings for the player and of course, for the characters within the game. Our examples of this come in the forms of Corpse Party for the Nintendo 3DS, a recently released updated version of the original Corpse Party that released on the PSP internationally, and King’s Quest which was also updated and remade. Not only will we explain what Corpse Party and King’s Quest are in case you’ve never heard of them, we’ll also explain how these games contain Dead Ends and how you obtain some of them.

1. Corpse Party

  • System/Platform: Nintendo 3DS
  • Publisher: Marvelous USA, XSEED Games
  • Developer: Marvelous USA, XSEED Games
  • Release Date: Oct 25, 2016

Once more, it’s time to enter the nightmare in Corpse Party for the Nintendo 3DS. Control several students that were sent into the cursed Heavenly Host Elementary School when they performed a ritual known as the Sachiko Ever After ritual. Now trapped in this evil school, the students must survive against vengeful souls, evil ghosts and even against their own dwindling sanity. Separated within a school that constantly shifts and changes, death awaits them around every corner and in every small crevice of this once normal Elementary School. With this new updated version, relive the original story of Satoshi, Ayumi, Naomi and the others ill-fated students with updated visuals, controls and even new stories added not seen in the original Corpse Party! It’s time to head back to Heavenly Host Elementary School and see if you can once more survive the literal definition of hell…

Corpse Party, the now famous adventure survival horror titles, is one of the best examples of modern day Dead Ends in gaming. In Corpse Party, you will find a lot of events are possible to view and see depending on what items you have—or don’t have—in your possession at specific points in the story and if you run into a specific ghost or being and die. If these criteria are met then usually, you’ll get a small dialogue or story cutscene and think that it’s actually a very important story based moment. However, most of the time—especially in Corpse Party—if these events occur you’re going to face a Dead End which will give you an actual ending to the game but typically, these types of endings aren’t the True Endings you’re looking for, especially in games like Corpse Party. If that sounds confusing, don’t worry; just think of it like a movie where if a character dies, that story is now over for good. Dead Ends might seem like a punishing result similar to game overs but in games similar to Corpse Party, it’s actually something kind of cool and haunting though usually more haunting especially in Corpse Party.

2. King’s Quest

  • System/Platform: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
  • Publisher: Activision
  • Developer: The Odd Gentlemen
  • Release Date: Jul 28, 2015 (Episode 1)

Remade and reimaged, King’s Quest removes the traditional point and click adventure of the original version and uses a more narrative/decision based gameplay similar to games like The Walking Dead by Telltale Games. Once more, we enter the story of Graham who is reminiscing with his granddaughter about his heroic past. We then enter Graham when he was younger and control his fate across multiple episodes to see how he became a true king and hero. Each choice made by the player will guide Graham towards one of many possible situations. However, not every choice will keep Graham alive and players need to be weary of each movement made.

King’s Quest, back in the late 90s, was a very different game than the 2015 version. However, the newest adaption of King’s Quest offers a prime example of a Dead End for our What is a Dead End article. As the player makes choices, their actions will at times lead Graham to untimely deaths or endings. Though some could argue these are Game Overs essentially, they don’t penalize the player more than just change the story with Graham explaining how he—meaning more so the player—made an unwise choice that led to his folly. From here, the player is reloaded to a previous section of the story where they can redo their actions and change the fate of Graham’s story. It’s a nice way of doing Dead Ends in a less creepy method, even if comical at times as Graham loves to make fun of himself when the player does something careless.

King’s Quest: The Complete Collection Trailer | PS4, PS3 (Official Trailer)

Sometimes Dead Ends are needed

Ironically enough, Dead Ends might seem like something to avoid if you consider yourself an avid gamer but we here at Honey’s Anime are actually going to blow your mind for a moment by revealing something interesting. Dead Ends are sometimes needed to get that glorious true ending. In this case, our final gaming example for our What is a Dead End article comes from a game that contains not one but two titles known as Zero Escape: The Nonary Games. Contained within this Zero Escape: The Nonary Games are two games—Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors and Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward—that have been updated with new enhancements and even full audio for the first title. Let us now dive into how this bundle of games actually twists the idea of Dead Ends being something you want to obtain and not avoid.

3. Zero Escape: The Nonary Games

  • System/Platform: PC, PS Vita, PS4
  • Publisher: Spike Chunsoft. Aksys Games, Rising Star Games
  • Developer: Spike Chunsoft, Chime
  • Release Date: Mar 24, 2017

Two stories, two groups of individuals, and only one way to escape. The Nonary Games return in this updated bundle including the first two stories of the Zero Escape Trilogy Nine Hours, Nine Persons Nine Doors—most commonly known as 999—and Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward. Solve various puzzles and dive into two groups each seeking survival at the hands of their captor known only as Zero. Why were they chosen and who can be trusted? It’s time to find out once more in Zero Escape: The Nonary Games.

In both Zero Escape titles—999 and Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward—Dead Ends might seem punishing but in reality, they are all too necessary. If the player seeks to reach the true ending of either title within this bundle game, they must reach endings that sometimes see characters die earlier than they should. Often, these endings can be reached by choosing a decision in either game or taking a specific path that will cause the story to end prematurely—though it’s disguised as real endings—thus giving the player a Dead End. However, once the player has reached a specific number of Dead Ends, the True Ending path unlocks and gives the player the means of reaching the finale. Trust us, folks, it might seem odd to do this but Zero Escape: The Nonary Games isn’t your run of the mill story and the Dead Ends actually play an important role in explaining the main story. That’s why sometimes Dead End results aren’t always a bad thing.

Final Thoughts

Dead End paths can be seen as a rather abrupt ending to a story but they have importance nonetheless. Often, they provide specific reasons for occurring that help explain small elements of a narrative or like in some games help further the player by providing means of reaching the True Ending. What are some of your favorite games that have Dead Ends if you know of any? Comment down below to let us hear from you and for more gaming knowledge and articles keep stuck to our grand hive here at Honey’s Anime!

Kings-Quest-game-Wallpaper-700x394 What is a Dead End? [Gaming Definition, Meaning]


Author: Aaron

Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!

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