Month: March 2013

Dealing with the Fourth Horseman: Death and Game Mechanics

castlevania-symphony-of-the-night-alucard-death[SPOILER WARNING: This article will be talking about the game mechanics of permanent plot-related character death in video games. As such, you should assume that any game that I mention will be a game in which people die or vanish from the party for long periods of time. I’ll try not to use games any more recent than a year or two old, but still, read this article at your own risk.]

Death. Final, absolute, cold hard death. It’s sort of an oddball thing to handle in video games. Why? Because video games have a very unique point of view when it comes to death. In video games, death is rarely ever final. Death, in regards to the main character, represents the loss condition. It is the point where you say, “I did not complete the level, so I’m going to start over and try again.” Usually, this is sufficient, because the player character is the one who you generally have to worry about dying. Obviously, this is because the entire game is constructed around more and more difficult-to-avoid ways of making the main character die.

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Better Late Than Never: The Longest Journey


Ah, the venerable point-and-click adventure genre, the genre that includes such greats as Maniac Mansion, Shadowgate, and King’s Quest, among others. Some of my favorite games on the face of the planet come from this genre, and it is absolutely filled to the brim with nostalgia for me. Like others, I greatly lamented the decline of the genre, both in the number and the quality of games that were released in it, and again, like others, I have become quite excited at the genre’s revival. I eagerly devoured the new Sam & Max games, I have placed The Walking Dead into my queue of games to tackle, and I am quite enthusiastic to see what Double Fine decides to do with their Kickstarter success money.

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