Honoring a lifetime of death in videogames

Permadeath. Fatalities. 1-Ups. Health regeneration. Dysentery. We understand these as part of the history of videogame mortality. While we recognize the conventions of death in videogames, we rarely think of videogame death treatment in terms of chronology. 

And that’s exactly what Patrick Shaw, over at Gamepro, has done. Covering a span beginning with 1962’s SpaceWar!—credited as the first game to possess a mechanism for death—and ending with World of Warcraft’s ghosts in 2004, it’s an interesting look at the maturity and evolution of death in games. It illustrates many of the directions mortality has taken—and demonstrates some of the ones it largely hasn’t (Karoshi, anyone?). 

Lana Polansky

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