Posted by Rasta_Zergling (113 posts) -

The Permanence of Death and the Military Fantasy in Games

War, violence, and death are some of the subjects most frequently tackled by video games. The reason behind this stems from the much larger question of why people play video games at all. According to many gaming-centric forums and websites, games can provide a form of escapism, a power fantasy, or even a way of relieving anger and stress. Additionally, first-person shooter games in particular are seen as one of the more accessible genres because of their frequent use of pre-established gaming conventions such as controls . The attraction to these types of games may be psychological as well, as described by Yahoo Answers member Ziegenkonig.

“People crave new and exciting experiences in life. Most of the new experiences, such as the thrill of a battle or war, are rather dangerous. So, people turn to the next best thing, which would be [first-person-shooters]. [Shooters] provide people with a turn from the normal everyday boring routines of life, to a more fast-paced, adventurous lifestyle. It lets everybody do what seems impossible, which is fighting in a violent battle without risk of actually losing your life” .

No (real) soldiers die in the conflicts depicted by games

The vision of carrying out brutal conflicts without bloodshed is not confined to the imaginary worlds portrayed in games. It serves as a driving force behind the development of military technology such as remote-operated drones, and is described by Ashley Dawson and Stephen Graham as the “military fantasy” . The notion of a war without death is already so deeply ingrained in the minds of players that the expectation of “re-spawning” in games feels as normal as Althusser’s descriptions of the unconscious acts of greeting that are societal norms . Very few games are able to break through these conventions, especially regarding player death, despite the fact that in reality death is permanent. Embracing the permanence of death can be used to great emotional effect in smaller art games such as One Chance, but the notion may not be viable for larger commercial products. This is why most prominent first-person shooter games, particularly multiplayer focused ones such as Battlefield 3 and Counter-Strike Source, interpolate players with this military fantasy of a war without the risk of death, and make it possible to experience victories that could never be. Electronic Arts and DICE’s Battlefield series aims to do so by negating the significance of death almost entirely through its advanced uses of “re-spawning” while Valve’s Counter Strike Source actually gives players a taste of the consequences of their actions before allowing them to return to the game.

As military technology advances, its developers dream of approximating the deathless conflicts that are currently only possible in fictional worlds such as those of video games. Dawson defines the modern ideal of the military fantasy as “the desire to avoid eroding domestic consent through the high death toll of city-based combat” . Urban combat is regarded by many soldiers as the bloodiest and most difficult of combat scenarios . In order to reduce casualties armies seek to develop their technology to the point that they are able to remove living soldiers from the battlefield entirely. While robotic foot soldiers are presently confined to the realm of science fiction, developers of military technologies such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have manufactured and deployed both fully-automated as well as human controlled drones with a variety of potential applications. The eventual goal is to “help save lives by taking humans out of harm’s way” . The military fantasy is a war fought by proxies, a war with little to no casualties, at least on the winning side. Advancements in game development are also being applied to advance the development of military technology. Johnson describes how the United States Armed Forces have been working with Crytek’s CryEngine 3 to develop a hyper-realistic simulator to train their soldiers for real-world combat scenarios . While the final product will never be something that the average consumer would be able to play, it is still built on a platform that was intended for the creation of mass-market products. As the lines between games, simulations, and reality become blurred we begin to approach the same ideals behind the fictional Battle School from Orson Scott Card’s novel Ender’s Game . While it may be pure conjecture, it is not impossible to imagine a future where soldiers can control combat drones in a manner similar to the way players control their avatars in first-person shooters.

The lack of permanent death in video games has become something so conventional that most gamers would view anything different as being unplayable. Althusser describes how ideological interpolation works by appealing to the subject’s pre-existing notions of what is normal . By playing to these notions, one can garner a greater feeling of association from the target audience. Video games frequently follow these established conventions as a way of appealing to a larger player base, but certain games such as Awkward Silence’s One Chance are able to embrace the confines of death’s permanence. The game was created for the sole purpose of exploring the idea of permanency. As the title suggests, the player is only ever given one chance to complete the story since, upon ending, the game saves a file to the player’s computer that actually prevents them from being able to start over. The game deals with the notion of impending and unavoidable death, and gives the player the choices of how they wish to spend their final days. After each day the game declares “In [X] days every single living cell on planet earth will be dead, you have one chance” . What is never explicitly stated by the game is what the “chance” is for. The player is thus given the option of whether to desperately work to attempt to cure the virus that will eradicate all life or spend their final days with their loving family, with them never being able to know what may have happened had they chosen differently. In addition, the game never actually tells the player that they will be unable to re-play it, and only makes it apparent when one attempts to do so. It plays to the dominant ideology that games can be repeated even after player death. The notion of not being able to return to the game after death may seem novel when it comes to video games, but it is actually a reflection of reality. Everyone knows that as humans we cannot return after death, yet all players expect to have multiple lives in videogames. What’s more is that players are keenly aware of the difference, as remarked by Yahoo Answers member Osito “Better yet, join war if u want to. See how many respawns you get” [sic] . People acknowledge that the lack of death in games represents an unattainable fantasy. The opposing assumptions that players make about how death functions in reality and in video games act as a terrific example of Althusser’s notion that, whether they realize it or not, everyone is always the subject of ideology . While it may be possible for smaller games like One Chance to highlight the importance of death’s permanence, such an idea would not be feasible in the expensive consumer focused products such as Battlefield 3.

One chance accomplishes things that many games cannot by making death permanent.

EA Game’s blockbuster first-person shooter Battlefield 3 chooses to eschew the reality of death’s permanence in favor of a representation of the military fantasy of a war without death. It accomplishes this primarily through its multiplayer mode, which allows up to 64 players to wage large-scale battles in teams of 32 players each. While it is entirely possible for the player’s avatar to die in such conflicts, the game is built to minimize the consequence of death, allowing them to re-spawn into the game, usually within less than ten seconds of their demise. Death is not only inconsequential in the game, but it is actually entirely common. In the average fifty-minute game of Battlefield 3’s conquest mode, the total number of player deaths can often reach four or five hundred deaths per team. As a comparison, consider that the total death toll of American troops in Afghanistan for the entire year of 2010 was approximately four hundred . The result is that the player views their in-game avatar as just that, a blank slate for them to operate and then discard before beginning anew in another body. Battlefield 3’s re-spawn mechanic so wholly embodies the military fantasy that it can even allow death to be used as an advantage; dead players are temporarily given a significantly larger tactical view of the battlefield as well as the ability to spawn in a location of their choosing to ensure that soldiers can immediately be where they need to be. Using death as a strategic advantage is so embedded into the game’s mentality that the developers actually included a Suicide button that allows the player to kill themselves if they were ever to be in a less favorable position. Being able to view the entire battlefield and dispense soldiers to the exact locations where they are needed is exactly the type of fantasy technology that Graham describes as DARPA’s “Combat Zones That See” project which seeks to apply similar mechanics to real-world battlefields, albeit without the suicides .

Commit an act of terror without feeling bad about it.

Valve’s Counter Strike Source may employ techniques that give dead players a tactical advantage similar to those present in Battlefield 3, but it differs in the fact that death actually carries with it larger consequences. While the game does still offer players the ability to re-spawn after death, it restricts the option to only allow them to return after the completion of a full round. The result is a more realistic representation of death’s consequences; a dead player means one less soldier on the battlefield to help his brothers in their mission, which leads to players making a greater effort to protect their comrades and to remain alive themselves, just like in real combat. Counter Strike also allows players to experience another aspect of the military fantasy: counter-narratives of victories that have never taken place. The game itself is a depiction of the war on terror, featuring teams of elite soldiers from several of the world’s benevolent military powers confronting terrorists. The counter-narrative arises from player’s ability to play as the team of terrorists, whose goal is frequently to detonate a bomb and cause destruction. It thus allows players to enjoy committing acts of terror that they would ordinarily condemn, and frequently the game will end with the announcement of “terrorists win”. This is not dissimilar to what Penney describes as the revisionist war narrative in Japan. There, several forms of fictional media depict the events of the Second World War as ending with Japan’s armies victorious . Just like these counter-narratives, Counter Strike allows players to rewrite their notions of the war on terror to turn their enemy’s victories into something positive.

The military fantasy of war without death may still be far from becoming a reality, but it is alive and well in video games such as Battlefield 3 and Counter Strike Source. Most players are already interpolated with the opposing notions of death in games and reality, and smaller art games such as One Chance are able to expose that ideology by reversing the convention. Larger games such as Battlefield 3 instead choose instead to embrace the ideology of death’s impermanence in games and fully depict the military fantasy through their use of death as a tactical advantage. Other games like Counter Strike Source still acknowledge this convention, but still realistically depict the consequences of a soldier’s death in a combat scenario. The fictionalization of these conflicts also allows players to rewrite reality and view the virtual victories of their nation’s enemies as something positive. As the line between military technology and video games becomes increasingly blurred, the military fantasy that games depict inches ever closer to reality.

#1 Posted by Rasta_Zergling (113 posts) -

The Permanence of Death and the Military Fantasy in Games

War, violence, and death are some of the subjects most frequently tackled by video games. The reason behind this stems from the much larger question of why people play video games at all. According to many gaming-centric forums and websites, games can provide a form of escapism, a power fantasy, or even a way of relieving anger and stress. Additionally, first-person shooter games in particular are seen as one of the more accessible genres because of their frequent use of pre-established gaming conventions such as controls . The attraction to these types of games may be psychological as well, as described by Yahoo Answers member Ziegenkonig.

“People crave new and exciting experiences in life. Most of the new experiences, such as the thrill of a battle or war, are rather dangerous. So, people turn to the next best thing, which would be [first-person-shooters]. [Shooters] provide people with a turn from the normal everyday boring routines of life, to a more fast-paced, adventurous lifestyle. It lets everybody do what seems impossible, which is fighting in a violent battle without risk of actually losing your life” .

No (real) soldiers die in the conflicts depicted by games

The vision of carrying out brutal conflicts without bloodshed is not confined to the imaginary worlds portrayed in games. It serves as a driving force behind the development of military technology such as remote-operated drones, and is described by Ashley Dawson and Stephen Graham as the “military fantasy” . The notion of a war without death is already so deeply ingrained in the minds of players that the expectation of “re-spawning” in games feels as normal as Althusser’s descriptions of the unconscious acts of greeting that are societal norms . Very few games are able to break through these conventions, especially regarding player death, despite the fact that in reality death is permanent. Embracing the permanence of death can be used to great emotional effect in smaller art games such as One Chance, but the notion may not be viable for larger commercial products. This is why most prominent first-person shooter games, particularly multiplayer focused ones such as Battlefield 3 and Counter-Strike Source, interpolate players with this military fantasy of a war without the risk of death, and make it possible to experience victories that could never be. Electronic Arts and DICE’s Battlefield series aims to do so by negating the significance of death almost entirely through its advanced uses of “re-spawning” while Valve’s Counter Strike Source actually gives players a taste of the consequences of their actions before allowing them to return to the game.

As military technology advances, its developers dream of approximating the deathless conflicts that are currently only possible in fictional worlds such as those of video games. Dawson defines the modern ideal of the military fantasy as “the desire to avoid eroding domestic consent through the high death toll of city-based combat” . Urban combat is regarded by many soldiers as the bloodiest and most difficult of combat scenarios . In order to reduce casualties armies seek to develop their technology to the point that they are able to remove living soldiers from the battlefield entirely. While robotic foot soldiers are presently confined to the realm of science fiction, developers of military technologies such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have manufactured and deployed both fully-automated as well as human controlled drones with a variety of potential applications. The eventual goal is to “help save lives by taking humans out of harm’s way” . The military fantasy is a war fought by proxies, a war with little to no casualties, at least on the winning side. Advancements in game development are also being applied to advance the development of military technology. Johnson describes how the United States Armed Forces have been working with Crytek’s CryEngine 3 to develop a hyper-realistic simulator to train their soldiers for real-world combat scenarios . While the final product will never be something that the average consumer would be able to play, it is still built on a platform that was intended for the creation of mass-market products. As the lines between games, simulations, and reality become blurred we begin to approach the same ideals behind the fictional Battle School from Orson Scott Card’s novel Ender’s Game . While it may be pure conjecture, it is not impossible to imagine a future where soldiers can control combat drones in a manner similar to the way players control their avatars in first-person shooters.

The lack of permanent death in video games has become something so conventional that most gamers would view anything different as being unplayable. Althusser describes how ideological interpolation works by appealing to the subject’s pre-existing notions of what is normal . By playing to these notions, one can garner a greater feeling of association from the target audience. Video games frequently follow these established conventions as a way of appealing to a larger player base, but certain games such as Awkward Silence’s One Chance are able to embrace the confines of death’s permanence. The game was created for the sole purpose of exploring the idea of permanency. As the title suggests, the player is only ever given one chance to complete the story since, upon ending, the game saves a file to the player’s computer that actually prevents them from being able to start over. The game deals with the notion of impending and unavoidable death, and gives the player the choices of how they wish to spend their final days. After each day the game declares “In [X] days every single living cell on planet earth will be dead, you have one chance” . What is never explicitly stated by the game is what the “chance” is for. The player is thus given the option of whether to desperately work to attempt to cure the virus that will eradicate all life or spend their final days with their loving family, with them never being able to know what may have happened had they chosen differently. In addition, the game never actually tells the player that they will be unable to re-play it, and only makes it apparent when one attempts to do so. It plays to the dominant ideology that games can be repeated even after player death. The notion of not being able to return to the game after death may seem novel when it comes to video games, but it is actually a reflection of reality. Everyone knows that as humans we cannot return after death, yet all players expect to have multiple lives in videogames. What’s more is that players are keenly aware of the difference, as remarked by Yahoo Answers member Osito “Better yet, join war if u want to. See how many respawns you get” [sic] . People acknowledge that the lack of death in games represents an unattainable fantasy. The opposing assumptions that players make about how death functions in reality and in video games act as a terrific example of Althusser’s notion that, whether they realize it or not, everyone is always the subject of ideology . While it may be possible for smaller games like One Chance to highlight the importance of death’s permanence, such an idea would not be feasible in the expensive consumer focused products such as Battlefield 3.

One chance accomplishes things that many games cannot by making death permanent.

EA Game’s blockbuster first-person shooter Battlefield 3 chooses to eschew the reality of death’s permanence in favor of a representation of the military fantasy of a war without death. It accomplishes this primarily through its multiplayer mode, which allows up to 64 players to wage large-scale battles in teams of 32 players each. While it is entirely possible for the player’s avatar to die in such conflicts, the game is built to minimize the consequence of death, allowing them to re-spawn into the game, usually within less than ten seconds of their demise. Death is not only inconsequential in the game, but it is actually entirely common. In the average fifty-minute game of Battlefield 3’s conquest mode, the total number of player deaths can often reach four or five hundred deaths per team. As a comparison, consider that the total death toll of American troops in Afghanistan for the entire year of 2010 was approximately four hundred . The result is that the player views their in-game avatar as just that, a blank slate for them to operate and then discard before beginning anew in another body. Battlefield 3’s re-spawn mechanic so wholly embodies the military fantasy that it can even allow death to be used as an advantage; dead players are temporarily given a significantly larger tactical view of the battlefield as well as the ability to spawn in a location of their choosing to ensure that soldiers can immediately be where they need to be. Using death as a strategic advantage is so embedded into the game’s mentality that the developers actually included a Suicide button that allows the player to kill themselves if they were ever to be in a less favorable position. Being able to view the entire battlefield and dispense soldiers to the exact locations where they are needed is exactly the type of fantasy technology that Graham describes as DARPA’s “Combat Zones That See” project which seeks to apply similar mechanics to real-world battlefields, albeit without the suicides .

Commit an act of terror without feeling bad about it.

Valve’s Counter Strike Source may employ techniques that give dead players a tactical advantage similar to those present in Battlefield 3, but it differs in the fact that death actually carries with it larger consequences. While the game does still offer players the ability to re-spawn after death, it restricts the option to only allow them to return after the completion of a full round. The result is a more realistic representation of death’s consequences; a dead player means one less soldier on the battlefield to help his brothers in their mission, which leads to players making a greater effort to protect their comrades and to remain alive themselves, just like in real combat. Counter Strike also allows players to experience another aspect of the military fantasy: counter-narratives of victories that have never taken place. The game itself is a depiction of the war on terror, featuring teams of elite soldiers from several of the world’s benevolent military powers confronting terrorists. The counter-narrative arises from player’s ability to play as the team of terrorists, whose goal is frequently to detonate a bomb and cause destruction. It thus allows players to enjoy committing acts of terror that they would ordinarily condemn, and frequently the game will end with the announcement of “terrorists win”. This is not dissimilar to what Penney describes as the revisionist war narrative in Japan. There, several forms of fictional media depict the events of the Second World War as ending with Japan’s armies victorious . Just like these counter-narratives, Counter Strike allows players to rewrite their notions of the war on terror to turn their enemy’s victories into something positive.

The military fantasy of war without death may still be far from becoming a reality, but it is alive and well in video games such as Battlefield 3 and Counter Strike Source. Most players are already interpolated with the opposing notions of death in games and reality, and smaller art games such as One Chance are able to expose that ideology by reversing the convention. Larger games such as Battlefield 3 instead choose instead to embrace the ideology of death’s impermanence in games and fully depict the military fantasy through their use of death as a tactical advantage. Other games like Counter Strike Source still acknowledge this convention, but still realistically depict the consequences of a soldier’s death in a combat scenario. The fictionalization of these conflicts also allows players to rewrite reality and view the virtual victories of their nation’s enemies as something positive. As the line between military technology and video games becomes increasingly blurred, the military fantasy that games depict inches ever closer to reality.

#2 Posted by Rasta_Zergling (113 posts) -

Bump because it was kinda stupid of my to post this during e3 and not realize that it would get overshadowed

#3 Posted by TehBuLL (571 posts) -

@Rasta_Zergling

Valve’s Counter Strike Source may employ techniques that give dead players a tactical advantage similar to those present in Battlefield 3, but it differs in the fact that death actually carries with it larger consequences. While the game does still offer players the ability to re-spawn after death, it restricts the option to only allow them to return after the completion of a full round.

I only wish SSG Maupin had another round. Video games. Not able to be compared to realism when it comes to combat if only because the consequences are NEVERthe same. I thank you for the interesting read, but for some people your interpretation of what you think is close to real and make-believe could be a stretch. Blood on the dirt does not equal blood on the keyboard. For the record, I enjoy CSS a plenty, but separation is necessary.

#4 Edited by TheDudeOfGaming (6077 posts) -

This is too long (that's what she - SHUT UP!). I'm sorry, but it really is and i lack the will power to read all of it. I'm sure it's great though.

Alright, so having read it, (where's my medal by the way?) it's nicely written, with a lot of info, obviously. But you've chosen a rather bad topic to write about. I'm going to take a wild guess and say that everyone who's played an FPS game knows this. Hell, non-permanent death is not even exclusive to FPS games. Every game with a save/reload system implements a no permanent death design. Also, when robots start waging war for us, war will become boring. Less horrible and that's great, but boring.

#5 Posted by Ravenlight (8033 posts) -

@TehBuLL said:

Blood on the dirt does not equal blood on the keyboard.

I'm pretty sure there's a USB peripheral to enable that kind of feedback.

#6 Posted by Chroma_Auron (112 posts) -

I think when it comes to the subject of death in multi-player games, that this issue can't be avoided. On single-player games though it's a different story. Zombie U demonstrates the consequences of death by having your character lose all their abilities, weapons, etc, and have to start with a new character to finish the level. Arma games do this well by increasing the danger and risks of dieing that you are aware of death and actively try to avoid it. I think most games with regenerating health take away this risk as you can just hide, recover, and then continue like their were no consequences to your actions. Health packs were in a way a reminder of how you need to be careful and think. Games are becoming less about risk vs reward and more about glorification while making you feel good.

#7 Posted by jakob187 (21514 posts) -

/followed

That was probably one of the best blogs I've ever seen on this site. Period. Also, you bring up a thought that I've had in my head for some time: I want a military game where you have permadeath...but it doesn't just stop at your death and that's it. I want the player to see the impact that it has afterwards.

I'm personally sick of the military fantasy in video games. Moreover, if you look at it, games as an industry continues to fuel the fire of the military industrial complex by constantly issuing out these pills of plastic discs with military content to recruit them for war-mongering ways. It's disgusting to me, to be honest. As someone who works around video games and children, I get almost physically ill at this point when some kid...a 10-year-old kid...wants to play Call of Duty or Battlefield or Army of Two or Ghost Recon or something where they can kill shit. What's worse is when I ask why they like those games...and they answer "because I can kill people". Is that what we've come to? Is it the reason that so many see death as being so trivial now?

Seriously, good blog with a lot of good questions to open up.

#8 Posted by Rasta_Zergling (113 posts) -

@Chroma_Auron said:

Zombie U demonstrates the consequences of death by having your character lose all their abilities, weapons, etc, and have to start with a new character to finish the level. Arma games do this well by increasing the danger and risks of dieing that you are aware of death and actively try to avoid it. I think most games with regenerating health take away this risk as you can just hide, recover, and then continue like their were no consequences to your actions. Health packs were in a way a reminder of how you need to be careful and think. Games are becoming less about risk vs reward and more about glorification while making you feel good.

Yeah I think that ZombieU has a really unique approach to making death carry a much larger consequence. As for ARMA I've been meaning to pick it up at some point, if anything to check out that amazing Day Z mod. So few games seem to want to risk punishing the player in any way but that mod looks like it takes it to another level.

Also to everyone who liked this thanks for the support. I'll most likely be posting similar essays in the future as I continue towards my eventual degree in game studies.

#9 Posted by Giantstalker (1447 posts) -

Alright as a soldier myself, and someone who hates permadeath in games, I'd need some time to come up with any kind of proper rebuttal to your admittedly well-written blog post. Not having said time, instead I'll argue that the "military fantasy" of war without death actually has relatively little to do with the military itself; it's really more heavily rooted in a society that cannot, and will not, tolerate casualties from conflicts. It's got more to do with the media, politics, and civilian control than the actual officers in charge (who in all likelihood would prefer to change as little as possible between wars). At one point it was acceptable to spend hundreds of lives for an individual island against the Japanese, or thousands on an isolated beach in Normandy, but war is a function of society and society has changed dramatically in 70 years.

Instead I'd say the military fantasy in gaming is about much different things than permanent death. For the vast majority of service members, death is not something they will personally experience. For most enlisted troops, there are more tangible issues which separate the real world from gaming's interpretation: this is the concept of control. You have very little control over your situation when your are deployed for multiple reasons. Here are a few:

  • You are given orders which you must follow by law.
  • You are instructed to use specific equipment, not all of which is ideal.
  • You are trained to do things in pre-determined ways and in pre-planned situations.
  • The areas you go to are at a higher level's discretion, as is when you go and how you will get there. Same with when you'll return.
  • Your conduct within these areas is monitored by peers and superiors at all times; screwing around is not tolerated and carries punishment.
  • Random, potentially unobserved events can instantly wound or kill you. You may have absolutely no way to prevent this from happening.

This is the reality that surrounds and defines combat for military personnel. Are these fun? Are the enjoyable? I know I DON'T want to spend my free time bound by these rules, especially since my job requires me to be all to familiar with them anyway.

In contrast, players are generally just given loose objectives and they can do whatever they want within the game to try and achieve them. They can pick up any weapon they want, they can even jump into any vehicle they can get their hands on in some games. They have no prior training, game animations and controls handle these drills for them. You can choose which mission or map you play and quit at any time if you don't feel like playing anymore. Randomly shooting just for the hell of it is common, and rarely will anyone call you out for it; as is throwing grenades in unobserved directions or firing rocket launchers without checking backblast areas. Most importantly, "unfair" death completely outside of the player's is generally entirely unless it is to drive the story forward or something similar. Can you imagine spending hundreds of hours as a soldier, with permanent death, that gets randomly killed by an IED his driver couldn't see? It wouldn't be recreational, it would be a sickening waste of time.

Permanent death isn't what defines war from the enlisted perspective. The military fantasy in gaming is centered around the circumstances of service. In order to be a fun, enjoyable game it simply can't mirror the real thing for multiple reasons. We like having some limitations to what we can do, to keep things in context, but oppressive levels of control is are anathema to having a good time. Just throwing permadeath into an existing modern shooter might add something, but it definitely won't be enough to make it authentic. I'm not afraid to say Battlefield 3 is my favorite game at the moment even though it's unrealistic in many ways. These are the concessions that make it worth playing in the first place. I think you're asking a great question, Rasta_Zergling, but in the context of video games I'm not convinced you're arriving at the right answer.

#10 Posted by Rasta_Zergling (113 posts) -

Thanks for the feedback Giantstalker, it's really interesting to look at it from the point of view of an actual soldier.

As for permanent death in gaming, i'm not saying that it should be done in most games, or that it necessarily makes games better, just highlighting that it can sometimes be used to great effect to make the player actually experience some of the consequences of their actions. Obviously Battlefield 3 (which I love to death) would be a terribly unplayable experience if death was permanent.

I think you may have misinterpreted what I was talking about when I mentioned the Military Fantasy and how its portrayed in games. As I mention in the essay, the Military Fantasy is a real world ideal that DARPA and other military research groups are focused on. Obviously it does apply to how people perceive wars since nobody wants to hear about more and more soldiers dying. I was attempting to point out the sort of irony that a dozen casualties in a real-life war is considered unacceptable but the 500 deaths in an hour-long match of battlefield is considered normal.

I hadn't actually thought of how much people's perception of what acceptable losses in a war has changed over the years. Looking into it now there were a total of over 4000 deaths just in the Omaha Beach attack. Those types of casualties today would probably result in an insane media outcry.

#11 Posted by High_Nunez (218 posts) -

What if they made a game where if your character dies, you have to start the whole game over. It's not without precedence, but it'd be novel to do it with modern games. Most games ask you to create, and customize a particular character who becomes more advanced the more you play him. So if that character dies, you have to make an entirely new one. I don't know, it would seem like a better fit for a single player game.

#12 Posted by Rasta_Zergling (113 posts) -
@High_Nunez

What if they made a game where if your character dies, you have to start the whole game over. It's not without precedence, but it'd be novel to do it with modern games. Most games ask you to create, and customize a particular character who becomes more advanced the more you play him. So if that character dies, you have to make an entirely new one. I don't know, it would seem like a better fit for a single player game.

You should check out some roguelikes like Dungeons of Dredmor. Or play Diablo on hardcore.
#13 Posted by benspyda (1899 posts) -

I play video games as escapism so bringing more realism to games like permadeath is not something that I'd look for in a game. But I'm the kind of person who quick saves all the time.

#14 Edited by Chroma_Auron (112 posts) -

@Rasta_Zergling:

I forgot about Dayz's. It's another reason for me to want to get Arma 2

@Rasta_Zergling said:

@High_Nunez

What if they made a game where if your character dies, you have to start the whole game over. It's not without precedence, but it'd be novel to do it with modern games. Most games ask you to create, and customize a particular character who becomes more advanced the more you play him. So if that character dies, you have to make an entirely new one. I don't know, it would seem like a better fit for a single player game.

You should check out some roguelikes like Dungeons of Dredmor. Or play Diablo on hardcore.

Terraria, Mine craft, the old rainbow 6 games up to raven shield where you can lose characters permanently, free-ware game execution and you only live once, shaiya mmorpg, NES star wars, Prince of Persia classic with survival mode, Nethack and varients, and Wasteland. TV tropes have a list of games with various forms of this. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FinalDeath

#15 Posted by Rasta_Zergling (113 posts) -

@Chroma_Auron said:

Mine craft, the old rainbow 6 games up to raven shield where you can lose characters permanently, free-ware game execution and you only live once, shaiya mmorpg, NES star wars, Prince of Persia classic with survival mode, Nethack and varients, and Wasteland. TV tropes have a list of games with various forms of this. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FinalDeath

Oooh, that's a really great list. I'll have to bookmark that for if I want to write a follow-up essay

On a similar note its interesting that so few survival horror games seem to want to add consequence to death. You'd think that it could make the prospect of death that much more frightening

#16 Posted by SmilingPig (1337 posts) -

All games should be 1$ and evry time you die you should have to buy a new copy.