A Game Over is a common term in video games, usually signifying the player losing and choosing not to continue.
When the player loses a fight, they are treated to a defeat screen, whose appearance varies based on the game. The game will then cut to a "Continue?" countdown. In most cases, the Game Announcer counts down from "9" to "0", and the player has that much time to insert more coins and then press the Start button to continue (in the arcade versions, inserting a coin or sometimes pushing the 1P button resets the countdown back to 9, which grants a time extension, whereas in the home and portable versions, all the player has to do is to press the Start button). The countdown can be sped up by pressing buttons other than the "continue" button(s).
If the player continues, their character will be "healed", or recover, and be able to fight again, or, alternatively, the player can choose a different character. If the player does not continue, they are treated to the Game Over screen, and can submit their initials for the high-score leaderboard, depending on the game. In rare cases, losing against the final boss and choosing not to continue will result in a bad ending.
However, upon successfully beating the game, in some cases, after their character's ending plays, they may also get the Game Over screen, and be asked to submit their initials for their high score if they score high enough, depending on the game.
In Arcade Mode, after a character loses a match, in most cases, the game gives the player the option to continue. The original purpose of this was to have the player insert another method of payment (usually quarters in the United States) to have another chance to beat the game. Some games allowed the player more time to search their pockets by resetting the countdown back to "9" with every subsequent coin inserted into the machine, which grants time extensions, or speeding up the countdown by pushing attack buttons, in order to go straight to the Game Over screen.
Some games, such as Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact, have hidden characters that the player has to fill certain conditions during their Arcade Mode in order to fight said opponents, because in most cases, defeating these characters makes these characters playable. Losing and then choosing to continue is usually disqualification against facing hidden characters or other benefits. The Street Fighter II era of games required no continues in order to see the Staff Roll after the character ending that plays regardless.
Home console versions also have this feature, but in this case it is mostly a carryover from the arcade games, in order to give the player a more authentic arcade feel. Even some games that never were in arcades, such as Street Fighter X Tekken, have this feature, just to match other games before it.
- A curious inverse of a game over happens in Street Fighter Alpha 3, when playing as M. Bison. Most other times in Street Fighter history the player can just continue, but when Bison is faced if the player loses against him, a bad ending appears where Bison achieves his goals and the player controlled player is enslaved by Shadaloo. When the player plays as Bison, however, his final battle is against Ryu, if the player wins, it plays M. Bison's ending, the cutscene that would be considered the bad ending if the player was controlling Ryu. However, if the player loses to Ryu as Bison, the player does not get the chance to continue and the game instead plays Ryu's good ending.