WARNING: SPOILERS! We're going to discuss the shocking twist endings to several video games!
If, by the way, you didn't know video games could even have mind-bending twist endings beyond misspelling "congratulations" on the final screen, you haven't been playing very many games lately. The following games not only have endings that leave players staring agape at the credits, but have expertly woven in foreshadowing throughout.
Yeah, game storytelling has come a long way, baby ...
(Cracked's storytelling has come a long way too. Check out our Star Wars: Adventures in Jedi School trailer and see just how far.)
6Call of Duty: Black Ops -- Subtle Reactions and Secret Codes Reveal the Main Twist
Call of Duty: Black Ops is a heartfelt and touching look at the physical and psychological cost soldiers pay to defend their country, told while you mow down seven or eight thousand foreigners across several decades. But the plot has a clever, Shyamalan-esque twist at the end.
You play a gruff badass called Alex Mason, who early on gets captured and imprisoned in a Russian gulag alongside a man called Viktor Reznov, but (SPOILER!) it turns out Reznov is only a figment of Mason's imagination. The real guy died years earlier. See, you thought you were just shooting a bunch of dudes in the head, but it was your mind that just got blown (sorry).
Sure, astute players might have noticed that, aside from Mason, not one single person in the entire game talks to Reznov. Mason and Reznov are accompanied by several other soldiers, but none of them so much as even look at Reznov, let alone question why a freaking Russian is hanging around guys tasked with exterminating as many of his countrymen as possible, one shotgun shell at a time.
They could've at least asked him where he got that sweet-ass jacket.
But then there are the little touches. For instance, not only do they not talk to him, but on several occasions while you and Reznov are talking, the other soldiers will stare at you like you've lost you fucking mind (which you totally have). They'll interrupt the "conversation" with noises like "Huh?" "Hmm ..." and the incredibly succinct "What the fuck's wrong with you?" This is exactly how most of us would react if we witnessed one of our comrades talking to his imaginary friend during a goddamn shootout.
But the game also drops its own hints in a manner entirely appropriate for a game set in the espionage-filled Cold War era: by using code. At the beginning of each level, a small briefing appears on screen, revealing your location, your mission, the date, and a few items your wife wants you to pick up at the market on your way home.
"And don't forget ears. That necklace is almost finished."
Now, see that circled word next to "Designate"? That word changes every level. If you take the first letter of each designation ("X" in this case) and arrange them in the order they appear in throughout the game, you get XREZNOVXXISDEDX: "Reznov is dead." Or "gzreznovgkzgkzisdedix" if you're an asshole who takes everything literally.