The Cliffhangouter Ending is a dramatic shot of the game's hero/heroine looking out at an impressive view from the vantage point of a nearby clifftop. While it was prominent in the 8-bit era, when developers were still experimenting with "cinematic" visuals to bookend their games, it continued long into the 16-bit era and beyond.
There are various reasons why a video game protagonist might want to stand pensively on a cliff:
- Watching the enemy fortress crumble apart, after destroying the load-bearing final boss.
- Returning home to a city or homestead seen in the valley below (or leaving same).
- A melancholic farewell to a ship or other vehicle moving out of sight.
- Checking out a sweet sunset.
- They're lost.
- Because it looks cool.