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"Shoot first, ask questions later" won't get you very far here...[1]

Video Games are a medium that still today is treated very vaguely by outsiders, some of which have a very generic idea of it, others have an exaggeratedly negative opinion of the medium and, in the most extreme cases, some who don't even bother doing their homework before talking about it.

However, this doesn't mean video games can't be incomprehensible even to those who actually play them. Read and be confused.


  Desmond Miles: "What. The. Fuck?"

    • ACB ends with Juno taking control of Desmond's body and forcing him to stab a paralyzed Lucy, then in the post-credits we're left wondering if Desmond even is the player character... or whether he himself is an ancestor called up through a future Animus.
    • ACR involves a situation of *deep breath* Desmond entering Ezio's memory of entering Altair's memories. And that's before Ezio tells Desmond to listen to Jupiter. Inception, anyone?
  • Call of Duty Black Ops: Most of the game, ESPECIALLY the penultimate level where it's revealed that Victor Reznov's been dead for years and the last cutscene at the end of the campaign which implies that Mason participated in or committed John F. Kennedy's assassination.
  • Cryostasis: Sleep of Reason lives on this trope. Filled to the brim with symbolic meanings, philosophical subtexts, biblical quotations, metaphorical Russian Folk tales, and a main character who is dead the entire game but eventually saved through winning a fight with the God of Time. Think Bioshock and STALKER combined and then directed by David Lynch
  • Final Fantasy VII, the memory fuck-up part. Cloud finds his entire history is a lie. Proceeds to angst for a good portion of the game. Followed by a trip into Cloud's subconscious where the player has to talk to various spectres of Cloud representing fragments of his past while a giant Cloud wriths in anguish overhead.
  • The climax of Final Fantasy VIII. First Time Compression occurs, the villain attempting to squeeze all of time and space into a single point and getting a good ways into it before the heroes abort her attempt. Then for the ending, Squall basically has his life flash before his eyes as it all gets put back...and then somehow Rinoa finds him and a desert landscape explodes into a flowering field. The ending helped popularize the infamous "Squall is Dead" meme, which states Squall actually died at the end of the game's first disc, the subsequent Kudzu Plot is his mind making up a fantastic adventure in its final moments, then in the ending finally completely breaking down.
  • What on Earth were you supposed to be accomplishing in Rez? Are hacking and electronic music... anything like THAT?
  • The Lost videogame Via Domus, true to the TV show it's based on, features a major mind screw at the end. Throughout the game, the main character, Elliott Maslow (a survivor of Oceanic Flight 815 who has never been seen on the show), who is suffering from amnesia, has been trying to retrieve his lost memories. It turns out that Elliot used to be a journalist who ratted out his girlfriend Lisa, also a journalist, and took a photo of her being shot in the head by the guy the two were after. On the island, he is repeatedly haunted by visions of Lisa, eventually making him regret his selfish ways. The game ends with Elliott leaving the island on a sailboat, only to witness Oceanic Flight 815, the very plane he had crashed with, break apart above his head. Suddenly Elliott wakes up on the beach (instead of in the jungle, like he did in the beginning of the game) amidst the burning wreckage, when suddenly Lisa comes running towards him, relieved that both of them survived the crash. It should be pointed out that this ending was explicitly suggested by Damon Lindelof, one of the show's executive producers/main writers, and the concept of time travel had already been established on the show by the time the game came out.
    • Fans of the show are torn whether this ending is really bad, or one of the few things that are actually good about the otherwise critically panned game.
  • Anything made by developer Goichi Suda (b.k.a. "Suda 51").
    • Killer 7 and, to a somewhat lesser extent, No More Heroes. If you claim to fully understand what the heck is going on in Killer7, you are dead wrong.
    • "Killer7" still stands to define Mindfuck but it becomes 'a little' easier when you realize most of the plot elements are supposed to be disjointed. its all just Harman Smith and Kun Lan playing chess with the world. Emir Parkreiner killed the Smith Syndicate and after he thought he killed Harman, suppressed the memory and became the entire Smith Syndicate in his own mind. All the ghosts were people Emir had killed and in the end he was just the chessboard, the Heaven Smile were Kun Lan's pieces, and the ghosts were Harman's pieces… except for Iwazaru… who… ummm… was Kun Lan trying to fuck with Emir to mess with the game but in fact he was helping Emir not remember who he was to keep the game intact? And the bosses were actually Harman's pieces to develop Emir's fake identity and keep him from realizing the truth, Yeah… something like that… So, its still a total mind screw.
    • The plot of Contact is largely ambiguous and open to interpretation, especially the Professor's and Mint's motives. The ending is pretty confusing as well, and probably creates more problems than really solves any; there's a divide amongst those who've played the game as to whether it was really unique or just anticlimactic.
  • Dreamfall: The Longest Journey. The ending. Well, calling it an ending would be a bit of a stretch, the thing practically ended midway through act II.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty. Nobody had tried using postmodernism to question the links between character, player, and designer in a game before. It's going to be a long, long time before anyone tries it again. The ending is especially epic.
  • At the beginning of Sanitarium, you wake up in a mental hospital with no memory and bandages wrapped around your face. Flashbacks appear sporadically as you play through the game and alternate between roaming the grounds of the hospital and going into bizarre settings where you actually seem to be other people, to the point where it's unclear what's real and what's delusion. Turns out that it's all delusion - more specifically, it's a big dream you had while you were in a coma after your car wrecked because your evil business partner cut your brake lines. However, the symbolism of the settings and actions during the dream is still of great note.
  • The original Silent Hill game screws with the player by taking things a step further than simply having a confusing plot: the game has no third-person narrative; it's played entirely through the point of view of the Player Character. Because he's kept in the dark over what's going on, the player is never let in on things either. It isn't until Silent Hill 3 that the full story is finally revealed.
    • The game screws with you more in Silent Hill 3, where it's suggested that the monsters you've been killing may be innocent people, and all the dangers you've faced are all in your head.
    • SH 2 gets really mind-screwed in its second half, with the stuff that goes on in the Historical Society Abyss and the Hotel.
  • The ending of Neo Quest II. Watch and be confused.
  • The plot of the fourth ending of Drakengard defies explanation. That goes for the fifth ending as well.
  • Shadow of Destiny is a more mild example than some on this page, but nevertheless tends towards this. The game is designed so that you have to play all of the Multiple Endings to know what's going on, but at least two of said endings directly contradict each other; the ones that DO let details slip don't explain what they mean; certain details are revealed and then re-revealed as something completely different; and the only character who knows what's going on refuses to enlighten the rest of the cast. Lampshade hung when one character admits that The Reveal she's just given you is based on things she's been told and that "not all of it may be true".
    • Its Spiritual Successor, Time Hollow, falls squarely under this too. Don't expect to understand the real motivation behind anything or anyone until the epilogue, and even then it's a bit iffy.
  • Earthbound: Children with giant heads attacking wildlife everywhere, possessed street signs, a glowing neon Dark World of backwards talking shadows, talking dogs, an afterlife that looks like a Grateful Dead album cover, and let's not mention the final boss...
    • While certainly strange, Earthbound is arguably the most straightforward game in the trilogy. Its predecessor, for one thing, had you entering someone else's mental world, by... touching a seashell and reading a diary? And then came Mother 3, which is even stranger.
  • The ending of Final Fantasy Legend AKA Makai Toshi Sa Ga. You've been climbing up a tower that leads to various worlds. You fight the apparent Big Bad. And then you walk through the door that leads to the top of the tower... only to walk into a trapdoor leading to what appears to be the very first world, at which point you can enter the tower after using the various orbs you acquired up to this point; the door to "paradise" opens, and... you're in a featureless white room. Wandering around leads you to The Creator of the World, who says you've won "the game"; you promptly decide to fight him. You see a door behind him that he wanted you to go through, but decide to go home instead. The Gameboy equivalent of Neon Genesis Evangelion, that ending was.
    • This also seems to be the plot behind the Architect and Neo's little conversation near the end of Matrix Reloaded.
  • SD Snatcher is probably the closest to examining the innards of Hideo Kojima's brain most people would like to come. The plot's perfectly straightforward (if a bit odd) until about halfway through, where it begins a slow downwards slide - starting from Gillian being forced to pretend to be Solid Snake in order to clear his name after killing a priest and ending with Snatchers in fursuits and clown suits colonising a ripoff of Disneyland (hidden behind a painting) because it looks like the Kremlin. Actually, no, it's probably when the master Snatcher manifests out of a pool of liquid skin.
  • Don't Eat the Mushroom.
    • Don't forget Carousel. MAH BRAAAIN. To play these two, though, you'll need to download Knytt Stories, a fun platforming game you can make levels for.
      • The former because it's a drug trip and the latter because of its Gainax Ending.
    • For those who can't access the linked forum, there's a video Let's Play of Don't Eat the Mushroom on this page (scroll down a bit to find it). It's screwy. Very mind-screwy.
  • Second Sight's last few levels, though not as bad as most of the entries on this page, was still rather mind-screwy. Mutant kids eating the Big Bad! The present is the future! The past is the present! Jayne's dead! Jayne's alive!
  • The Xbox Live Arcade Game Braid has a highly confusing story to go along with it's tricky time-manipulating gameplay. Absolutely everything is metaphorical. What appears to be a simple tale about rescuing a princess turns out to be a complex story of a man's obsession, and the atomic bomb, or something...
    • After playing World 4, in which the timeline is controlled by your position in the level, a friend of this troper was afraid to scroll through chat logs, for fear that he would undo the most recent messages.
  • Eternal least when the sanity gauge gets low, anyway.
  • The entirety of Mondo Medicals and its sequel Mondo Agency. Unless you have a complete understanding about CURING CANCER BY SHOOTING PEOPLE WHILE THINKING LIKE A STAR or how killing indians in order to save technology will somehow save the president... before you kill him, then you are pretty much fucked with these games.
  • The little-known Baroque, which takes place in a distorted world where people physically transform into a metaphor for their twisted delusions. It's confusing enough from the very start that, by the time you learn that the flying babies with deformed faces are actually the physical manifestation of God's pain, and you've been firing them out of your Infinity Plus One Gun, you'll be relieved that the plot is starting to make more sense.
  • The Stinger of Bubble Symphony aka Bubble Bobble II can act as a kind of Mind Screw. Were the four children (or original protagonists and girlfriends, whatever) just pretending to be transformed into bubble dragons and go on that quest, or did it really happen and they all managed to make or receive suits of their bubble dragon forms and toys of the items, Plot Coupons and cute baddies, and play around with them afterwards? Why don't you take a look and suggest something?
  • The Elder Scrolls series retconned five of Daggerfall's conflicting endings into a single canonical event by making it so that they all happened at once, breaking the relationship between time and reality and causing all sorts of incomprehensible chaos.
    • On a related note: ANYTHING written by Michael Kirkbride. 36 Lessons of Vivec is an excellent example.
  • Interactive Fiction work Shade. To avoid unnecessary spoilers... let's just say that it starts getting weird fast, and ends with one of the most cryptic, incomprehensible scenes ever seen. How did the tiny human figure crawl out of the sand if it's dead, and what did it mean by "You win. Okay, my turn again"?
    • Fortunately, a combination of Word of God on the official thread and Guide Dang It clues make it far more comprehensible. The fact that the Player Character changes without any ingame indication adds to it.
      • One interpretation may be that the player character already went to the event in the desert, and is, in fact, one of the persons whom the radio mentions going missing. As the player character suffers the effects of dehydration, he begins to suffer from psychosis and hallucinates that he is back in his apartment prior to leaving. As he dies, he begins to see through portions of his delusions, and portions of his "apartment" turn into the sand that is really there.
  • Knights of the Old Republic 2 was not completed, and thus has given rise to a tremendous number of theories about precisely what the hell is going on. Among the most screwy are the theories that Kriea is one of the True Sith and orchestrated the events of both games for an increasingly unlikely series of reasons and the theory that Kriea knows she's in a video game and is out to kill the developers.
  • Star Ocean Till the End of Time involved a massive Mind Screw late in the game. It was revealed that the entire universe was, in reality, a MMORPG for 4D beings, thus making all the characters computer programs that happened to gain sentience. If that wasn't enough, the Big Bad succeeds in deleting the entire universe. It no longer exists, but it still happens to exist because people still thinks it exists even though it got deleted. Is your head splitting open yet?
    • Let me put it this way. If you make a bell through a mould, the bell isn't affected by the mould's destruction, so long as casting is complete. Lucifer only destroyed the mould; nothing happened to the accidentally-created bell. Better still, Lucifer had no idea any casting had happened, and dismissed out-of-hand that any casting could happen; he only knew of the mould's existence, not the bell's. To be honest, you'll have a slightly better idea of what's going on if you're familiar with Gnosticism.
    • However it REALLY gets bad when you consider Before attempting to delete the universe entirely, Lucifer sends the Executioners to manually delete the inhabitants of the Milky Way, including whole civilizations, ships and Earth itself. It is specifically said that these have been deleted. Yet the universe still exists when it is deleted? The implication is that the inhabitants of Earth and such didn't think they existed!
    • Or you could also realize... Blair had backups of the entire Eternal Sphere... and she simply rebooted everyone-and-everything once the ordeal was dealt with. (Lucifer, on the other hand is probably... gone.)
  • Both F.E.A.R. and Project Origin's hallucinations are generally chaotic mindfucks that in a lot of cases don't make a whole lot of sense at first glance....or even after you've got the proper context. And in Project Origin, there is a literal case of a Mind Screw, where Alma rapes Becket during a hallucination.
    • What makes you belive it's a hallucination?
  • LSD Dream Emulator was an early PSX game based on the dream diary of a real woman. This is important to know because the "dreams" you can have in the game are insanely absurd. The game itself is very open and you can interact with nearly anything, but the more you interact with things and the more dreams you have, the stranger the dreams become. The limited edition book that came with the game is basically a copy of the woman's own dream diary. Fans still endeavor to understand what it all means, though.
  • An earlier Bungie series, Marathon, certainly qualifies as this, to the point where an entire fan community sprang up around trying to decipher its story. The entirety of the story is told through a series of text-based terminals, many of which are extremely cryptic and full of mythology references. It didn't help that many of the terminals were in hard to find locations and easily missed.
    • Marathon Infinity, when jumping between different timelines in order to find the one where the universe can still be saved from the W'rkcacnter, you go through very strange "dream" levels. The terminal messages found on Where Are Monsters In Dreams are perfect examples of this.
  • Most of Yume Nikki, and how.
    • Three of the many fan-spinoffs are even stranger, in order;
      • Dot Flow's ending has one of the creatures from the dreams, a chainsaw-wielding maid, pop up in the real world. The implication is that she kills you. Even before then, going to certain parts of the dream world too often, and triggering certain events, leads to your "real" room rusting, and eventually, an IV monitor showing up.
      • LCD DEM is pretty standard Yume Nikki-spinoff fare until its ending, which has Chie exiting her room to find what appears to be her mother, dead and bloody on the floor. This happens with zero foreshadowing on even a symbolic level.
      • Answered Prayers is unfinished, so it's mindscrewiness may be at least partly because of that. But it has a short text opening that is difficult to explain, and the very method by which you enter your "dream world" is odd, as it involves you praying in a temple instead of going to sleep.
  • See also the Chzo Mythos.
  • The Mirror Lied, a freeware game by, fits this trope perfectly. See also Shrug of God.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines: The coffin is a mindscrew. The player is filled with legend speculating on its contents, is given a life-threatening mission to recover it, and the one character who begs you not to open it is acting pretty out of character...who wouldn't open it?
    • Well actually, there is another person who begs you not to open it. The only problem is: you don't know anything about the coffin yet at that point in time because the person telling you that can see into the future... and is batsh*t insane.
  • Vagrant Story, particularly the ending; though most of the game involves the protagonist trying to figure out what in his head is real and what isn't.
  • Xenogears, like the whole thing.
  • Ever 17 in increasing amounts as it becomes increasingly obvious to the player, if not the characters, that things just don't add up. They manage to explain it all into a single continuity even but until then you may have to pause to ask yourself things like... actually, explaining the mind screwiness would actually be spoilerific. And even then there are a few strings dangling.
  • Well, at least Ever17 explains almost everything. Remember 11 takes it completely the other way; some of the mysteries are solved around 2/3th of the game, but as you reach the ending, more and more mysteries are added, with the game ending with a plot twist that came so out of the blue for some, that many people completely hated the ending. (The fact that even the answers given were so confusing that many players didn't even get those didn't help either.) The game will then confuse you further as you have to try to see every single confusing bad ending through its confusing ending system (would take too many spoilers to explain), and finally rewards you with the final TIPs, which theoretically would allow you to solve the game. Needless to say, to this date, nobody truly knows the solutions to the mysteries presented.
  • A lot of The Path has this, for example, pictures and patterns randomly flashing over the screen, the random items you find littered around the woods and anything you see in grandma's house after encountering the wolf, especially if you've unlocked the secret rooms.
    • Actually "unlocking" anything is a mindscrew in itself. The lit up items in your inventory don't seem to be the ones that are counted at the end of each stage, and even when you don't unlock anything, you'll still see the same scenery(but unlocking does let you know about it in advance). There are collectable gold clovers in the game-- What happens if you get them all? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. The entire scorecard and "game" features of the game seem to be there shearly to mock the concept of a traditional game, something which The Path is most definitely not.
  • There's a fairly minor one in Baldur's Gate- in the catacombs under Candlekeep, you meet Elminster, Tethoril and your stepfather Gorion- who was murdered at the end of the prologue. They tell you that Gorion was actually poisoned and made to look as if dead, and that for some time you've been trapped in a grand illusion created by the Big Bad and his doppelganger minions- and you've just murdered most of your childhood friends, believing them to be doppelgangers. If you believe them and follow them, they lead you past a load of apparent Doppelgangers, who chase you- and the three characters turn into Greater Doppelgangers and, if you aren't careful, kill you. Bastards.
  • Tales of the Abyss makes perfect sense right up until the ending, at which point it suddenly enters full Mind Screw mode and refuses to explain what happened.
  • An obscure Atari Jaguar game called Attack of the Mutant Penguins is so convoluted that it requires an Angry Video Game Nerd to explain it to you.
  • Plumbers Don't Wear Ties is a supposedly softporn "game" that somehow manages to be this. Let The Nerd himself try to explain this to you as well.
  • Two of the bosses in the VIP 5 Super Mario World hack are complete and utter 'what the hell is that' things, such as Tanasinn and Julius. The first has some weird quotes too, such as Don't think. Feel and you'll be Tanasinn. and I lose. However, I am immortal. Anything can become Tanasinn. You are also the same.. It's basically the strange embodiment of Japanese Message Board memes...
  • Every time Scarecrow makes an appearance in Batman: Arkham Asylum.
    • Particularly the Scarecrow sequence where Joker apparently shoots you, at which point a fake game over screen appears telling you to use the middle control stick to dodge the bullet. This comic puts it brilliantly.
    • Not to mention that you get little (was that a gas leak I just walked across?) to no warning at all that you've received a facefull of scarecrow toxin. Especially the fake game crash glitch and fake game reset that turns into a modified version of the intro cinematic where a very serious Joker is driving the insane Batman to Arkham.
      • These sequences are made worse by the But Thou Must! factor being in effect. Even if you know where the gas is, you can't grapple to avoid it (if you do, you still get gassed), there are no passages around it, and the door you entered that corridor through locks behind you. Nighty-night, Bats...
  • The Half-Life 2 modification Dear Esther has a plot, and a lot of it is revealed to you, such as the fact there was a car crash, where Esther was apparently killed. Anything more than that...who knows?
    • Another Half-Life 2modification, Korsakovia (made by the same minds behind Dear Esther) is one big mind screw. At first you think you are simply experiencing things in a screwed mind, while hearing your neurologist, Dr. Grayson, talk to you, but then things get weirder and weirder, until eventually a chapter title reads "The Assimilation of Dr. Grayson".
  • Kingdom Hearts stopped making sense somewhere around the middle of Chain of Memories. Kingdom Hearts II made an admirable and mostly-successful attempt at cleaning up loose ends, but still left a few questions unanswered, and then introduced a whole host more with the Updated Rerelease's secret ending video (which turned out to be a teaser for the PSP prequel Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep).
    • Chain of Memories? Try the opening for the first game. And that's not even touching any of the other games, or the imfamous "Snarl of Memories" cutscene from 358/2 Days.
    • Would the fact that memories of Sora and Xion magically disappear and with memories of Sora magically coming back without explanation count?
    • Not to mention the first time Axel, Roxas, and Xion sit on the clock tower. At first you think the hood thing might be a silly developer error you caught. Then it happens again, and again, and again... but it gets explained when it's revealed everyone sees Xion differently and the hood being up is the game not trying to reveal that until later.
    • A more appropriate name of Kingdom Hearts 3D would be: Kingdom Hearts: What The Hell Did I Just Play?!
  • Condemned: Criminal Origins had a pretty standard "Clear My Name and catch the serial killer" plot. But it also had all the homeless people go crazy and mutate, and the main character hallucinate for no adequately explained reason, which made the whole thing creepier. Unfortunately, they explained it in the sequel.
  • The Company of Myself appears to be a simple platformer with elements of manipulating space-time to create shadows of yourself to solve the puzzles involved. Actually, it's a journey through the mind of a man who had inadvertently killed his own soulmate and thus became lost in his memories. The page for this game even lists some of the screwier attempts to fully explain his "interactions" with the psychologist.
  • Time Fcuk not only Mind Fcuks the player, it Mind Fcuks the main character. Radio messages from his past and future selves let you chart his descent from The Everyman through Perky Goth all the way to Talkative Loon as he tries to figure out where he is and what's going on.
  • The scene in The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess where Link is supposed to learn what happens when the powers of the Fused Shadows are abused... It ends with an army of giggling clones of Link's best friend Ilia, falling from the sky. And that's just how it ends.
  • The Arceus event from Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver definitely qualifies as a Mind Screw.
  • The ending of Mystic Ark. Nowhere in the game does it tell you exactly what the heck you're doing or why you're doing it until right after you beat the final boss, and then the end of the credits only makes it all the more confusing.
  • And let's not forget Planescape: Torment, where the whole storyline is one big mind screw. It does get explained, however, but it's certainly screwy for the bigger part of it...
  • The ZX Spectrum one-arm-bandit simulator Dizzy Dice has a mode where you try to earn as much money as possible, beating four successive targets. Beat the last target (and hence the game), and the result is a fake "system reset".
  • Panic is nothing but one big Mind Screw.
  • Alan Wake gets more and more screwy as things go on. It's not long before other characters think that Alan is crazy, and he's not only admitting the possibility, but saying it might be a good thing: "It takes crazy to know crazy." Then the ending tops it all.
    • The DLC mini-sequels get pretty surreal too.
  • The Bright in the Screen combines this trope with a hefty dose of Nightmare Fuel, thanks to the... thing communicating with the player through TV screens. To say nothing of the fake ending, or the real ending. The creator says it's about "human social behavior," which explains absolutely nothing.

 "I look out my window and see a world of red. Then I close my eyes, and realize that my darkness is red."

  • The entire Bit.Trip series. When every game in the series is a completely different playstyle, you've already started wondering "what is this I don't even..."
  • Most of the story of Immortal Defense.
  • The entire Dept Heaven series. If you can comprehend the entire series thus far, you either are a. part of the team developing the games, b. a VERY dedicated fan, or c. an alien.
  • The end of Professor Layton and the Curious Village. Everyone in St. Mystere aside from Bruno and Flora is a ROBOT.
    • Even more so in the sequel where the old city is an hallucination induced by the vapors of a rare ore that Pandora's Box is carved from. It makes the affected person extremely suggestible and it just happens that the first thing you see getting off that train are pictures of that old town. It also explains the coma of those who handle the box as the story of the "curse" has them expecting this to happen.
  • Rule of Rose: Probably All Just a Dream, but even then raises a huge number of questions in the vein of what actually happened and in what order, as the chronology is severely muddled up. It has served as fan fodder for five years and counting!
    • The game does make perfect sense if you view it through dream-logic and child-logic simultaneously. Assuming that you've found most of the semi-hidden plot points (the game lets you skip ridiculous amounts of exposition without realizing it). Yeah, it's not easy...
  • The Secret Level in Batman Doom. It's called "No Comment..." and "Weird!", and both names fit. Imagine Batman on a giant island made of flesh, floating in the middle of inky blackness and with biting mouths in the ground, with clock-adorned trees taken right out of Dali's "Persistence of Memory"; Batman must fight against floating eyes that throw batarangs at him and that leave the eyeholes of a giant mountain made of meat. Once you beat the eyes, you can enter the mountain's toothy mouth and proceeds down its... digestive tract? to the room with the exit. And the level music? The cheesy theme of the Batman TV show.
  • Tales of Symphonia gives us an in-universe and meta example with Lloyd's infamous hot-coffee-iced-coffee gambit, that he used to get Collette to admit that she was losing more and more of her humanity with each temple they went to. The thing is, they never really explain if the coffee was hot or cold, or if it was just temperate, or if it was even coffee to begin with!
  • The Legacy of Kain series loves to play with this trope. Time Travel? Check. Ambiguously moral characters? Check. Hideously convoluted plans from nearly every major character except one? Check. Several fansites actually do a good job at discerning what took place in what time, but the ending of Defiance still leaves some questions in the air.
  • Parts (especially before the players get to the Answer/Core arcs) of the When They Cry series can be summed up neatly as Mind Screw: The Game.
  • Deadly Premonition does a good job of tying up most of the plot threads by the end of the game, but there are still quite a few other questions that are never really answered. Like, How much of the action sequences were actually real? What exactly are the Shadows? Why could Emily see them? How much of Harry's story was true? What did the military have to do with all this? Why was Kaysen in the military at all? Did the final boss fight even happen? Why does everyone intuitively know to call you Zach after The Reveal? Does that mean that you only thought you were calling yourself York? Why can Isaach and Isaiah see dead people? Why were they in the Red Room? What was the Red Room? What did Kaysen mean when he said that he was from the "Red World?"
    • Basically, the biggest remaining questions revolve mainly around how much of it was meant to be taken as literally occuring, and how much was meant to be symbolic representations of the events of the game.
  • Hellsinker is visually and musically very surreal, but the plot is even stranger than any of the gameplay would lead a player to believe. The full version of the game contains hidden poems, loads of cryptic Japanese text, Morse Code messages in the title screen, flashing screens in between levels and during bosses, distorted voices and all sorts of fun things to spend time decrypting. It's pretty much House of Leaves: The Game.
    • And let us not even get started on the Final Boss.
    • Strangely enough, Version 0.95 of the game was almost perfectly normal. After it was released, the creator disappeared from the internet for a while before creating a rather cryptic new website and releasing the full game at Comiket 72.
  • Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. Akane is dead, and you've been playing as Akane nine years in the past this entire time. The whole purpose of the present-time Nonary Game is to save her life... nine years in the past.
  • Chrono Cross has some particularly Mind Screwy moments, especially compared to its rather straightforward predecessor Chrono Trigger. The Dead Sea, in particular, is left almost completely unexplained, to the point where several articles have been written by fans trying to explain exactly what it is.
  • Pirouette is one of the most Mind Screwy web games out there. The game stars a presumably female character with multiple wives — one of whom died twenty years before she was born — as she meets the wives in the final seconds before they die while half-heartedly warning them of their impending doom. The bizarre, vaguely written Purple Prose seems to imply that all the relationships may have been toxic, and even the dialogue about screwing is screwy — "intercourse" is used to refer to both conversation and sex, often only a few sentences apart. To demonstrate just how bizarre the game is: at Jay Is Games, which features detailed reviews and comments on web games, Mind Screw art games are fairly commonly featured, so the people in the comments are usually savvy enough to properly interpret such games and come to a consensus on said interpretation. With Pirouette, the people in the comments had pretty much no clue what was going on, and even the interpretations that actually sprung up were more humorous, half-hearted attempts to sift out some sort of meaning. To quote one person:

 Echoloco: Okay, if I'm interpreting this correctly (which I highly doubt) then, taken at face value, with as little induction as possible, the main character is a she-male and/or transgender and/or imaginary friend with benefits who is also a time-traveler and/or dimension shifter and/or a necrophiliac and/or a polygamist and/or a lesbian and possibly the last of his/her/its kind. To be honest, I'm not sure if he/she/it/they is/are human. Trippy.

  • Spider-Man Edge of Time: How does something that takes place in the future affect the past??
  • The freeware game A Mothers Inferno has some incredibly trippy visuals and unusual creatures.
  1. If it helps, you're using a naked crystal fairy as a sword to fight a kitten in a computer program.
  2. To be more specific, the relation between Unown and Suicune is never explained.