This Wound Matters: Video Game Storytelling

We don’t always play the video game in front of us. Control is often wrested from us, and we are obliged to watch closely. Cutscenes and Quick Time Events interrupt the flow, to push the plot forwards or to steer us down a very specific track. When a game shifts into a lower gear, and player agency is restricted, it is hopefully for a very good reason.

One of the particular reasons a game does this is because the protagonist has suffered a severe, sometimes mortal, wound.

Lot’s of games have this moment. a dramatic scene in which the player-character is reduced to a slow, lumbering mess, desperately dragging themselves to safety or performing one last heroic deed. Sometimes, it creates a deliberately heart-wrenching moment. It’s also a very strange moment from a game logic perspective. Having walked off so many terrible, violent attacks, we are told that this wound is the one that could be our downfall.

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Dying in Game: What’s the weirdest way to go?

It was Nietzsche that wrote, “What does not kill me makes me stronger”. In reality, that’s regularly true. When it comes to videogames, it really depends on how you are about to be killed. In some cases, dying is part of the learning process. In other games, your demise will only result in a minor punishment, or have no impact whatsoever. It’s uncommon for a video game to kill you in a way that doesn’t make you stronger.

In other words: videogame deaths are odd. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, dying in-game usually lacks permanence. Each fatality can be brushed off with nonchalance. Secondly, there is an ever-expanding variety of ways to go out. Whilst they may fit the game in some way, there’s no hiding their bizarre nature.

You-Died

So the discussion I place before you, morbid as it might be, concerns weird deaths. What are the oddest ways to kick the bucket? Do you have a preferred way to go out? Below is a list of some – but by no means all – of the unusual ways game will kill and resurrect the player’s character(s).

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