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LONG BLOG

Death in Games

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Death; it's never fun. An experience that can evoke a range of reactions. From the obvious
grief, to panic, trauma, and depending on your relation to the deceased, a dull, and brief
malcontent. This said, death in games has, as far as I know, always been handled rather
casually, is it time for a change, or does this serve a purpose?

In more primitive games death meant starting over, from the beginning. Before the luxury
of saving, the prospect of death was actually one met with a sort of fear, or at least a
visceral response from players, though usually frustration, and almost never genuine
depression...

The Saved Game brought a little more comfort to gaming, making death a much less
important factor. The game over is a staple that, just recently, seems to be going away.



It is this screen that is sort of perplexing. It is antique, something that should be shelved
and remembered rather than used on a regular basis: There is no need to hit players over
the head with their own failure. Is this death? Making ourselves realize our short comings?
It seems to be mistreated, in my opinion.

It's obvious that this convention has survived due to the theory that players must be
punished for failing, as if failing in itself wasn't enough. I'm not asking for games to get
easier, but why not incorporate death into the play? Could death be a game mechanic,
rather than a que for the game to restart?

I understand that a game that ceases to play is one that nobody would buy, but what if,
when you die- the game did? Or it became a totally seperate experience. An entire
'afterlife' created to occupy gamers who died. You would have to start a new file in order to
play the main game as a living character...Anyways, I'm thinking too specific here. The real
question is, isn't there a better way to handle death in games? An intuitive way that treats
death with respect?

Something a little better than this:




At no time during decapitation did I think that Leon would be okay, when his head hit the
ground I never once sat at the edge of my seat, mashing buttons in hopes of regenerating
a body. No, I assumed I was dead, but thank you Capcom for your astute reminder. Then I
load up my save and continue on. This definitely has a place in gaming but I would love to
see it handled in different ways, perhaps the art game scene will further explore it.

What do you guys think?
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About perrione of us since 8:30 AM on 11.17.2006

Hey Dtoid. Welcome to perritoid!

I'm a 23 year old artist/teacher. While in University I experimented mostly with Animation, Video, and Games.

The lovely [dearly departed] Anthony Burch* featured the fruits of my experimentation here on Destructoid as part of the Indie Nation Series Which probably is one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me! One of many reasons why I love Destructoid.

*The [formerly] Resident Person Named Anthony Who Isn't Anthony Perri.

My first console was the SNES. It remains my favourite, and I've been playing games ever since without pause. Recently I've been a little burned out on the modern sensibilities of a suddenly overwhelmingly Western market. Most of the HD games don't appeal to me.

I currently live in Korea where I teach english and avoid Starcraft [and the north].

Follow 'anthPerri' on Twitter!




Header photo by Dario Ayala, 08
Edited by Anthony Perri, 09






Steam ID:perri05


 

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