Extra Punctuation: Death in Videogames

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 NEXT
 

I'm surprised nobody was yet to mention Super Meat Boy. In Super Meath Boy, the 4th chapter, "Hell", is filled with bodies of dead Meat Boys representing your past hundreds of attempts to finish other levels in the game.
[SPOILER WARNING]
The boss fight in the this chapter is actually a huge golem made out of these bodies (http://www.aeon.net.nz/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/SMB-hell.png). Apparently, all the dead Meat Boy hate the one Meat Boy who was lucky enough to stay alive.
[SPOILERS END HERE]
Quite an interesting concept to think of, actually. I hope other game would exploit this strange game mechanic and somehow combine it with the storyline, the same way Super Meat Boy did.

The talk of quantum mechanics reminded me of Mogworld.

Did you know that Yahtzee wrote a book called Mogworld that's available on Amazon & Amazon.co.uk?
Well Yahtzee wrote a book called Mogworld thats available on Amazon & Amazon.co.uk, buy now beat the rush!

Hmmm, feels like I heard that before in a subliminal message somewhere...

The film Run Lola Run is another excellent example of video game death mechanics played out in film

I like the point how it's not about gameplay, but it's about the mindset of the players. But was all that about quantum mechanics really necessary? Oh, yeah...

Yahtzee Croshaw:
some kind of astral projection mechanic to let you map out the area and your objectives, but whenever you died it would cut to the player character back before the mission, clutching his temple and looking concerned, thus revealing that you weren't actually playing the real world, but a prediction of a possible future that could now hopefully be avoided.

... I guess it was. A similar mechanic exists in Phenomenon 32. In that game your deaths are failed simulations of spaceship navigation.

it's be interesting to make a game that played with this multiverse idea, by choosing one of your deaths to be the true reality - after you've completed the level.
You're pretty sure you made it, but everyone else remembers you getting shot down about halfway through.

In a soldier game, maybe EACH play through becomes rumors of your skills for future missions. (like in the recent movie "Battle Los Angeles," the solidiers aren't sure of their squad leader because they've heard some stories about what happened on his last mission). so if you made it through on first life, everyone is on the same page. But if you died 100 times (or saved 100 times?) people have a very mixed view of you.

...
* Also, wasn't there a text adventure about a decade ago (I believe it won awards at the time, in that community) wherein : you've been caught during a break in and are being interrogated. The game is split between surviving the interrogator, and exploring the flashbacks of how you broke in. In the end, you find that your flashback stories each had slight lies, which will let you escape the interrogation. (like you hid something in a vent, unlocked a door, called for help, etc.)

I just heard about it. never played it. if anyone has name/link please let em know!

Funny. As I read about Yahtzee's tale about the movie Next and how it would be good to be transcribed into a videogame, one actual game came to my mind that did the exact same thing.

Light to Medium SPOILERS
-----------------------------------------------------------------

I won't explain why because it is a big part of the plot but the game did just do that: Show your deaths as failed universes where your actions were wrong. And that knowledge even became important in the plot. Failing was nearly as critical as winning in the game. But it wasn't rewarding you with failure, by all means no, each failure hit you hard when you thought about every little thing you did in the game that might have activated the Failure state. And it made you progressively more paranoid in your second attempt.

When it comes to this article, I think this game does everything Yahtzee is asking for.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2OytHzZ72Y

How has nobody posted this?

(Edit: I cant embed it for some reason)

minecraft's way of losing all items and even losing the world by dying adds that extra bit of disapointment, similar to sonic losing rings instead of dying. Losing something you've collected is possibly better in some games than time lost.

Iglock:
I think I know a solution to the continuous timeline problem.

The character never dies, but can "faint".

Think of the Pokemon games. Pokemon never die, they faint. If you lose a battle, you'll restart at the last healing centre. That way, the flow of time continues as normal, but the player still must replay the battle until they win.

You could apply this to other games (for example Fable 3).
-Player starts quest
-Player is unsuccessful and character faints
-Character is saved from death (by an NPC?) and attempts the quest again, essentially restarting the quest
-Rinse and repeat
-Player completes quest

This is essentially the problem with Fable 3, the character is knocked out and even that is rare. It takes the feeling of challenge out of it completely, games=competition=challenge/difficulty. Fable 3 wasn't technically even a game in this regard, it was just an annoying semi-planned walk where the greatest threats to your experience were tennants not paying rent or the game timeline jumping forward half a year after one mission.

*Woops posted early* The character being saved by an NPC also wouldn't make all that much sense, how are you supposed to believe that after you were hauled off by a dissapointed friend that the opponent wouldn't of prepared for another attack by the time you awoke, or even fled to another location?

Raiyan 1.0:
Funnily enough, this actually reminds me of Doom 95's mulitplayer. Each time you died, you respawned, but your last dead body remained on the map. After a while, the entire map is strewn with your and the other players' dead bodies. The visual message of dead bodies strewn throughout the map is more powerful than any number showing you frag counts...

Technically that happens in modern MP shooter too. It's just that no-one pays attention to these things any more.
Also, HEY you got a probation....con....gratu...lations...... I guess. :/

OT: Speaking of Deja vu, Yahtzee, Am I the only one who ever thought if Deja Vu's were basically when our God/Luck/"Sims player"/What-have-you was just "reloading" the day/week to replay it, because I accidentally burned my house down or something?

Cause that's some Existential shit right there.....

Divinegon:
Funny. As I read about Yahtzee's tale about the movie Next and how it would be good to be transcribed into a videogame, one actual game came to my mind that did the exact same thing.

Light to Medium SPOILERS
-----------------------------------------------------------------

I won't explain why because it is a big part of the plot but the game did just do that: Show your deaths as failed universes where your actions were wrong. And that knowledge even became important in the plot. Failing was nearly as critical as winning in the game. But it wasn't rewarding you with failure, by all means no, each failure hit you hard when you thought about every little thing you did in the game that might have activated the Failure state. And it made you progressively more paranoid in your second attempt.

When it comes to this article, I think this game does everything Yahtzee is asking for.

Yes awesome game. Death in there was a WHOLE PLAYTHROUGH too. I got a bit angryy at it beacuse I came very close to doing it right the first playthrough and spent other times doinging everything else I could think of and failing. Could be frustrating but awesome.

There's an episode of Farscape where essentially this happens. Crichton keeps seeing very real visions of the future and then at the moment that everything goes sour, he gets yanked back to an earlier time again as though none of it ever happened, giving him a chance to try again.

This is why Bioshock frustrated me so much. I'd gotten used to death being a reset button, and not getting to say "OK, I messed up that time; let's take it from the top" was annoying as hell. Yeah, the game has a manual quicksave/quickload (though it annoyingly takes you out of the game for a moment and brings up the saving/loading game screen), but I'm not used to that. I'm used to automatic checkpoints. I've even gotten used to suiciding with grenades sometimes when I realize I screwed something up and want to start over, but haven't died yet.

For some reason, I don't have a problem with respawns in multiplayer even though they're essentially the same thing. Maybe it's because you and everyone else is expected to die and have to respawn several times over the course of play.

GrizzlerBorno:

Raiyan 1.0:
Funnily enough, this actually reminds me of Doom 95's mulitplayer. Each time you died, you respawned, but your last dead body remained on the map. After a while, the entire map is strewn with your and the other players' dead bodies. The visual message of dead bodies strewn throughout the map is more powerful than any number showing you frag counts...

Technically that happens in modern MP shooter too. It's just that no-one pays attention to these things any more.

Really...? I logged in so many hours of MP with you guys, but I never noticed... Maybe it's due to the fact that everyone is brown colored and is barely visible on the brown colored ground when they fall, as opposed to Doom's gaudy space marine suits...

GrizzlerBorno:
Also, HEY you got a probation....con....gratu...lations...... I guess. :/

Actually, I got a suspension yesterday, and a probation today. ^_^ Suspension because I called a guy an idiot (he wasn't present in that thread, but I linked to his comment - dick move), and probation for raining on Escapist's exclusive-interview-parade by saying I couldn't care less about GoW3. Though there was a bit of trolling on my part, what was unfair was how the guy above me got 'probed' as well just for saying, I kid you not:

I already found a bug, one that was also in Gears 2: doesn't work on PC. :/

Yeah. Apparently you can get probation for being sad about the fact that a game is not being released on your platform. Sheeesh... -_-

Iglock:
I think I know a solution to the continuous timeline problem.

The character never dies, but can "faint".

Think of the Pokemon games. Pokemon never die, they faint. If you lose a battle, you'll restart at the last healing centre. That way, the flow of time continues as normal, but the player still must replay the battle until they win.

You could apply this to other games (for example Fable 3).
-Player starts quest
-Player is unsuccessful and character faints
-Character is saved from death (by an NPC?) and attempts the quest again, essentially restarting the quest
-Rinse and repeat
-Player completes quest

I remember Shining Force also had a similar mechanic... when the main character falls unconscious in battle, you end up back at the last church you save at - but with half your money. Which always made me wonder how they knew exactly how much I had, and thusly charged half of that to bring me back to life.

I was gonna post something here about how Yahtzee should quit this comicbook nonsense of alternate timelines, but upon a brief search of my game library, and a complete lack of a sufficient counter-example (other than Pikmin, and games like civilization or Dwarf Fortress), I just have this to say:

Why didn't you go after the Lego games for this?

I kinda wanna see an multiplayer rpg with perma death. It worked well in some well thought mods on the old Neverwinter nights so it would be nice to try it in a full game. Being in a group of players getting shitscaried when members started to die around them was quite engaging.

Very very nicely written. :D

awesomehawk:
In gran turismo there is an equivalent to death though. It is called "losing a race".

Not entirely sure that's the same as death; you can always race again at a later point.

_Russell_:
The talk of quantum mechanics reminded me of Mogworld.

Did you know that Yahtzee wrote a book called Mogworld that's available on Amazon & Amazon.co.uk?
Well Yahtzee wrote a book called Mogworld thats available on Amazon & Amazon.co.uk, buy now beat the rush!

Hmmm, feels like I heard that before in a subliminal message somewhere...

Mogworld was pretty amazing I thought. :P I expected it to be pretty good, at least worth a read, but it was a lot better than I expected. Awesome book. :D
...

I beat the rush.

The fear of real death lies primarily in two things: the fear of the unknown and fear of lost opportunity, i.e. all the things i'll never get to do if I die early. To make death stick in games you have to figure out some way of replicating these, although I have no good ideas about how one would go about doing that.

Also, real death is permanent. there's no reloading or restarting from anywhere (unless you believe in reincarnation, but i'd prefer to leave theology out of this). Replicating that permanence in a game would be extremely effective at convincing players to avoid death, but would probably be a bad idea overall.

BloodSquirrel:

Yahtzee Croshaw:
There have been several games that have made the connection that, what with players frequently quicksaving and autosaving, death will usually mean nothing worse than using up a few minutes of your time as you're backtracked to a little way before your mistake.

It's not *time* it's *progress*.

It's the kind of difference that only matters when the game is actually challenging in the first place. Not actually losing progress means that it doesn't matter if you die- you can gain ground one inch at a time without ever having to change tactics or get better at the game. Losing progress means that you have to actually be able to beat some defined chunk of the game to move on. When you can oaf your way through anyway, it stops mattering so much.

This is why I far, far, prefer checkpoint systems to quicksaves.

I agree almost entirely. However, quicksaves aren't quite as bad as what Kirby's Epic Yarn does. WHen you lose all your money/jewels/whatever, a boss doesn't suddenly have all its health back. You could literally go forever on zero, get hit constantly, and still beat the game. Even quicksaves have a BIT of a progress barrier.

P.S. Thanks

warrenEBB:
it's be interesting to make a game that played with this multiverse idea, by choosing one of your deaths to be the true reality - after you've completed the level.
You're pretty sure you made it, but everyone else remembers you getting shot down about halfway through.

In a soldier game, maybe EACH play through becomes rumors of your skills for future missions. (like in the recent movie "Battle Los Angeles," the solidiers aren't sure of their squad leader because they've heard some stories about what happened on his last mission). so if you made it through on first life, everyone is on the same page. But if you died 100 times (or saved 100 times?) people have a very mixed view of you.

^^ this would be an extremely interesting mechanic that i would pay good money to see.
figuring out the NPC voice acting would be a pain in the backside though, having to account for a bunch of possible outcomes.

Liking the quantum theory metaphor.
I did a paper on that stuff....

But anyways, yeah I agree with you. As always.

I have to say I prefer the option of saving and have never felt it diminished my enjoyment of a game.

The best ways to integrate it inot the story for me have been Assassin's Creed and Sands of Time. The desync/faulty memory concept is great at allowing deaths and reloads without breaking the narrative.

Is it just me or did that potential game Yahtzee described sound a lot like a reverse Ghost Trick?

You know, the end Yahtzee described sounded a lot like Second Sight, which is a fun game with psychic powers, but shitty in design and linearity and many other bothersome things, like the annoying alarm sound.

But, in Second Sight, you can project out of your body like Yahtzee mentioned, but when you run out of power or finish what you had planned as your astral form, you snap back to your body, and, ironically, your character sometimes holds his head in pain, just like he described.

So, yeah, it's an interesting concept, and I wonder if game companies think they want people to realize what death really is, or want you to keep playing without any breaking any flow of the game.

I think Killer7 did a good job in connecting death to the narrative. Although I must say was inconvenient.

Personally I prefer quick saves and auto saves and for people that think quick saves are too easy can just use the auto saves.

I've always been a fan of the multiverse idea.

Hell.. sometimes I'll complete an area of a game and reload to try it again because I think "That didn't go as well as I wanted it to... I can do that better".

In one universe, I die. In another, I'm just mediocre at getting the job done. And then there's the universe where I'm a total badass.

I think my favorite way of dieing in games was in Medal of Honor Pacific Assault (for some reason, this is also my favorite WWII single player campaign, for length and mission content).

Basically, you had a medic in your squad, and he had a certain amount of medkits depending on the difficulty. When you went to 0 health, you would be on the ground wounded, and he would have to run to reach you, and if he didn't then you would die. WHAT ALSO would happen was if a Jap go to you first, you were rewarded with many stabs, stomps and shots to the brain, which always freaked me out. That game presented death in the most realistic and memorable way for its setting, atleast for me.

Also carrying wounded allies on your back, despite being useless ish, was always epic feeling in the hardest difficulties.

Its very simple very prey wasn't fun... You could literally keep attacking the same boss slowly draining its health. The reason why loading takes time is not to punish you but because your computer is too slow to do it instantly. Also I prefer the Baldurs Gate 2 way over all others aka you die, if your cleric can resurrect that's fine if not go reload, and saving in battle is NOT allowed.

That's an interesting interpretation of the standard die-reload method. I don't mind losing those few minutes, but what I hate are death sequences that are obnoxious and/or unskippable. For example? MASS EFFECT.

Seriously, I HATE dying in the first Mass Effect game. Between the loud synthesizer music, the slow movie-of-a-musical camera rotation, the blurry red filter, and the fact that the sequence can't be skipped, it almost makes me want to toss the game disc under the freshly ignited engines of a space shuttle. It made me SO happy that Mass Effect 2 changed the death sequence so that you didn't notice the music until the option to reload appeared (which was within only a couple of seconds).

Basically, the Mass Effect 1 death sequence was "OH MY GOD YOU JUST DIED RAAAAAAAH!!!", whereas the Mass Effect 2 death sequence was "Well, that was embarrassing." I hope the Mass Effect 3 death sequence just cuts to black and instantly brings up the reload options. That would essentially be, "Oops."

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Or perhaps I'm overthinking all this. No, I guess you're right, Nintendo, the best approach is to replace dying with making all my pocket change fly across the room.

I-isn't that the Sony approach? With Sonic?

Um... Hasn't anyone ever heard of something called Wario Land before?

Wario Lands 2 & 3 were two of the best games on the Game Boy (Wario Land 4 was similar, but it had health, and I haven't played Wario Land 1 before). In the game, Wario could not die, and enemies didn't kill you or make you lose health, but stun you and knock you back for a little bit. This minor annoyance was irritating enough to make you want to avoid hits (just like in any game), but it also added to this by providing some of the best platforming I've ever encountered in a game. Other enemies transformed you when they hurt you, and this could either serve as am obstacle, or as an extra power for Wario. For example, one enemy turned Wario into a spring. This was good if you wanted to go high, but bad if you wanted to go low. Depending on how the level was designed, this enemy could become either helpful or annoying.

Overall, Wario Lands 2, 3, and 4 were all extremely fun to play, and all but #4 didn't allow the character to die. I sincerely recommend that you buy them when they are inevitably released on the 3DS virtual console.

I actually like this article. I agree, the issue is storyline, immersion, and the fact that your enemies know you are immortal and won't surrender anyways. Well done.

Funnily enough I'm working on a game concept that over comes the trope the death via automatic time-travel to a time when your character wasn't dead. Addressing simple yet madding tropes like this is something I wish to do with story elements. I mean Bioshock addressed a single trope with its entirely plot twist structure and people loved that right?

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here