In home console games, continues are not typically available at the player's leisure. While the player may start with a preset number of continues, to acquire additional continues, the player must earn them; either by collecting an item, reaching specific point totals, or performing certain tasks. Furthermore, continues may not place the player directly at the point they ended. For example, in a platform game, an extra life may allow a player to continue from the point their character died, but a continue would leave the player at the beginning of the level the player was on. Additionally, a continue will often reset the score counter to zero, curtailing a player's attempt to achieve a high score (most games cannot reset the score counter to zero, such as Puzzle Bobble 4 and most of the Capcom games). In some console games, particularly role-playing games, the only way to continue is to reload a saved game.
As a rule, arcade games contain a continue feature whenever a player loses all their lives, but they must use another credit (insert more coins) before it is allowed. This is to not only give the player a chance to continue without losing their progress but also to collect additional revenue from them.
In many arcade games, such as Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara, if the player or players have all died during a boss fight the continue screen will feature an illustration of the boss and a line or two of them daring the player to continue.
In some arcade games, an animation was shown to intimidate the player to continue. The first game to do this was Street Fighter. The continue screen would featured a time bomb counting down from 10. If the player did nothing, the bomb would detonate, causing the screen to "explode".
Final Fight carried this same scenario. The continue screen featured the character (of the player's choosing) tied to a chair with a giant stick of dynamite ready to explode. (This was redone in its Super Nintendo sequels Final Fight 2 and Final Fight 3.) In a similar fashion, the arcade version of Tecmo's Ninja Gaiden featured the character tied to the ground with a giant circular saw being lowered towards the character's chest. If the player doesn't have enough credits or chooses not to continue, the scene freezes upon the end of the countdown, followed by a scream, and then the game automatically return to the demo mode. Mortal Kombat 4 featured a Continue screen where the defeated player was falling down a seemingly endless well. If nothing was done to continue, the player landed on the spike pit below.
The videogame Fatal Fury features two Continue screens, one of which is a continue screen giving tips on how to beat an enemy which, if nothing is done to continue, a standard Game Over is shown, while a special Game Over/Continue screen is seen if the player loses to Geese Howard, in which Geese kicks the player character off his skyscraper. The continue screen features them about to fall to their deaths unless the player chooses to continue.
Typically, during this period, the player is given a short amount of time (traditionally ten seconds) to choose to continue before at the end of the game. In many arcade games, simply inserting a coin into the machine will reset the counter, allowing the player more time to press the "start" button or insert more coins; conversely, hitting any other buttons during this countdown will result in a second being taken off the counter for each button press, further shortening the player's decision-making time. This is usually done to prevent other players from starting the game at the original player's status if he or she decides to quit (Or a new player can choose to start over and thus end the game immediately rather than wait for the 10 seconds to go off).
Most arcade games made since the late 1980s feature coin-insertion continues. One notable exception is Haunted Castle, where the player was given only three to five lives (depending on the cabinet's settings) in exchange for the first coin inserted. Additional coins could be inserted before pressing start to increase the player's health; for every coin inserted the player's health doubled, up to the game's ten-coin limit. However this was not quite as useful as those coins giving more lives or continues, as falling down a hole would still take all the player's hit points regardless of how many coins they had inserted.