Essay on Death Is A Failure State

1478 Words Oct 29th, 2016 6 Pages
To many people, death is the ultimate end, when nothing continues, and the book of life closes. However, in the majority of video games, death is a failure state. Due to the primarily action-focused nature of games, death has served as a failure-state for thousands of games, from Mortal Combat to Pac Man. The question is, how do games use death, beyond that of a failure state? To examine, we’ll see an extremely common method seen in FPS’s, such as Doom or Wolfenstein the New Order, a newer method in Dark Souls, and one of the earliest methods of dealing with death through a more modern title, FTL: Faster than Light.
To begin with, we’ll start with an examination of what a videogame is: A videogame uses interactive elements to create either a story or an experience. These experiences vary from very simple (I shoot the man, I talked to someone, I terrorized a small town as a goat), to the more complicated, such as with the shared experience of with the rebel flagship in FTL, where panic and the chaos the flagship creates makes a narrative about keeping your men alive in face of overwhelming odds. These elements are usually either emergent, drawn from the game mechanics, or structured, where a story is told either through pre-made gameplay actions or told. The question built is how Death influences the stories told, specifically, how these games use death to build some semblance of suspense.
“POWER SURGE DETECTED”
-FTL: The Rebel Flagship Second Encounter
Doom, Wolfenstien the…

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