7 Games Where the Bad Guys Win

video game villains who won bowser super mario

Video game stories usually tend to follow a fairly standard course: the villain makes a dastardly plan, the hero steps in to prevent it from happening, and the world is saved. Sometimes there’s even cake as a reward.

But what happens when the video game villains actually get away with their evil schemes? Whether or not you actually agree with their motives, you have to admit their plans are usually pretty well plotted, so it makes sense that the odd evil mastermind could get away with murder, as it were.

Video game stories usually tend to follow a fairly standard course: the villain makes a dastardly plan, the hero steps in to prevent it from happening, and the world is saved. Sometimes there’s even cake as a reward.

But what happens when the video game villain actually gets away with their evil schemes? Whether or not you actually agree with their motives, you have to admit their plans are usually pretty well plotted, so it makes sense that the odd evil mastermind could get away with murder, as it were.

So with that in mind, here’s a selection of crooked villains who actually managed to succeed in being evil, despite the best efforts of all the heroes involved. Hey, we all have off days.

Watch out for story spoilers ahead!

1. Tom Nook

video game villains who won tom nook animal crossing

We’ve got strong opinions about this nefarious raccoon. Somehow, he manages to extort every single player who picks up an Animal Crossing game out of eye-watering wodges of cash in a matter of minutes, leaving them thousands of bells in debt before they’ve even had a chance to ask for the nearest tourist information office. Nobody ever tries to stop him either, probably because he’s the animal equivalent of an untouchable mob boss by now.

Shop Animal Crossing: New Horizons here

2. Bowser

See him in: the Mario series

video game villains who won super mario bowser

It doesn’t matter how many times Mario drop-kicks this guy into a lava moat, he always comes back. Princess Peach is never truly safe, so can we actually call Mario a hero if he never really gets rid of the threat? Could it be that there’s some deep conspiracy and Bowser and Mario are actually working together behind the scenes?

Shop Mario games here

3. The Covenant

See them in: Halo: Reach

video game villains who won halo reach the covenant

You genuinely cannot win this war. Your teammates are all irreversibly, 100% dead. No matter how many aliens you shoot, you’re always going to be overwhelmed, because there are just too many of them. Once you’re gone, the Covenant will destroy every last human on Reach and then, to add insult to injury, flatten it with explosives too. You can’t even pretend this went well.

Shop Halo: Reach here

4. Ardyn Izunia

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This sneaky B pretended to be nice for a sizable chunk of the story, only to be revealed as the secret big bad with devious plans to destroy the last remnants of his bloodline. And on that front, he succeeded pretty spectacularly. Yeah, so he didn’t quite manage to destroy the world in the process, but that whole getting revenge by obliterating your entire family thing? He nailed that part.

Shop Final Fantasy XV here

5. Dormin

video game villains who won dormin shadow of the colossus

We never entirely trusted Dormin. It seems a little lopsided to ask for sixteen vast monsters to be slaughtered in exchange for the life of one little girl (especially when said monsters never really did anything wrong to begin with), and ultimately Dormin gets a brand new body out of the deal too. Even when he’s sealed away again it seems to be only temporary, and with all the colossi dead, his enemies gone, and all his powers restored in a brand new body, can we really say the humans won here?

Shop Shadow of the Colossus here

6. The monsters

See them in: Little Nightmares

video game villains who won little nightmares monsters

Here’s the basic premise: scary monsters capture small children for food and imprison them aboard a terrifying ship called The Maw. A couple of children escape. They find their separate ways through the ship’s winding corridors, escape some grabby monsters, and manage to permanently maim other grabby monsters. Then one of them turns into a monster herself and eats the other one. Who wins, here? It’s not the kids. And based on what the developers have told us about Little Nightmares II, it’ll probably never be the kids.

Shop Little Nightmares here

7. The horrible goose

Witness true evil in: Untitled Goose Game

video game villains who won untitled goose game

Let’s be perfectly clear: you are the villain here. Nobody in this village has done a thing to hurt you, but you, the most evil video game bird ever made, are going out of your way to hurt everyone else. You create absolute chaos, stealing everything that’s not been nailed down, terrorising children, causing actual bodily harm to innocent passers by, and what are the consequences? That’s right. You’re the ultimate supervillain. Nobody is left to fight you.

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