Death Generator Makes Game Over More Personal

“Game over”. In this day and age of complex games with storylines and career modes that last for tens of hours, it’s not really a concept that has a lot of relevance. However, in the golden age of the arcade, those two words made it very clear that your time was up and it was time to find another quarter. Home games of this era were similarly blunt, and if you couldn’t rise to the challenge, you’d be seeing the death screen more often than not.

[foone] was a fan of Sierra’s classic adventure games, and decided to create a tool to generate custom versions of these Game Over/YOU DIED screens. Aptly named Death Generator, the tool is programmed in JavaScript and quickly expanded to cover a wide realm of classic titles. There are King’s Quest IV and V, Gold Rush!, and even modern titles like Cave Story+ and Undertale. There’s plenty of fun to be had typing in completely ridiculous quotes for various screens; our personal favourite is Skate or Die, though Police Quest comes a close second.

[foone] continues to maintain the site, and adds new games from time to time. Animated GIF support has been a recent addition for screens like Metroid and Bad Dudes, and there are even character choices for Super Mario Bros. The code is available on Github if you feel the need to tinker yourself.

11 thoughts on “Death Generator Makes Game Over More Personal

    1. The real hack from this is in the extraction of the fonts from these classic games. They’re stored in all sorts of weird formats, proportional or fixed (eg https://twitter.com/Foone/status/1097254133227081728). A lot of the games break when you force them to display certain characters. As well as exposing emulator bugs related to rendering the fonts (https://twitter.com/Foone/status/1098101730191892480).

      All this is on [foone]’s twitter since the site isn’t really set-up as a documentation of the work that goes into setting it up. It might not be apparent from the site, but everything on there is extracted from the original games with the intent of making it as accurate as possible.

    2. The real hack from this is in the extraction of the fonts from these classic games. They’re stored in all sorts of weird formats, proportional or fixed. A lot of the games break when you force them to display certain characters. As well as exposing emulator bugs related to rendering the fonts .

      All this is on [foone]’s twitter since the site isn’t really set-up as a documentation of the work that goes into setting it up. It might not be apparent from the site, but everything on there is extracted from the original games with the intent of making it as accurate as possible.

      (Apparently linking to [foone]’s tweets showing this just gets my comment moderated and removed, so you’ll have to find them)

      1. Well said. Foone puts a huge effort into adding new titles and his immense Twitter threads show some impressive hacks required to get the data. Very much a hack.

        My fave has to be the SimCity 2000. “You can’t cut back on death generator. You will regret this!”

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