Back in the olden days
games, after you lost all your lives, it was game over. And "Game Over
" meant game over. You died. You can't play any more. You were either shite at the game and died ten seconds in, or you could spend a whole afternoon on one 10p coin
. Then some bright spark
realized that you could maybe persuade people to put more money in if you allowed them to carry on after dying for the price of another credit
. Thus the question
that defines our lives today: "Game Over. Continue?
" You're given 10 seconds to come up with an answer before being tossed back to the title screen
. Given that loaded kids are more likely than not to put in a coin when they die, this led to the kind of screen filling shmups
popular in the 80s, where unless you have the kind of reflexes that let you catch flies with chopsticks
, the only way for an ordinary person to see the end of the game is to put in a credit
's worth of coins every minute or so. Game designers however, being the good honest
people that they are, decreed that you should lose all your points when you die, giving some encouragement to master the game and attain a high score
rather than just pay your way to the end.
Of course, translating these games to the home introduced its own problems. Consoles don't have a coin slot you see. So, developers had to come up with some way of preventing people from playing their way through these (rather short) games in one sitting. The generally accepted solution is to limit the player to five credits, and vary this number with the difficulty setting. Some developers decided just to give infinite credits, and this usually earns them a slagging off by weak willed gamers unable to admit defeat and restrain themselves.
Arcade games being all the rage back then, developers of original console games decided that they wanted their works to be just like them. So they added the idea of continuing after you lost all your lives aswell. Often continues were hard to find pick-ups in the game, making them slightly different from the arcade variety. Others just gave you infinite conitnues and sent you back to a save or restart point erasing any progress made since that point. Although, in these games, the idea of continuing is justified, because they often far out stripped arcade games in terms of length and playtime.