Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Mortal thrills

Another brief note in the ongoing series of brief notes about how I'll get around to writing an article on failure in games. An article in the February issue of the journal Emotion points out that death is now seen as a pleasurable respite from the tension of playing a game, as opposed to the penalty of failure. This particular article has floated around the blogsphere over the last couple of days, but I suggest you read the original text to see how the lack of permadeath in FPS games leads death to become a euphoric interlude between stressful killings.

When I die in Unangband, I experience the not entirely satisfying feeling of a cold skeletal hand gripping my clammy heart, as the overconfidence drains from my body in shock. How do you feel when you die in roguelike?


humpolec said...

Haha, I also thought about roguelikes when I read about that article on Slashdot. Somehow, permadeath is much more real than death in FPS, so most of the time I feel only very negative emotions - sad because of losing several hours of gameplay and a promising character, angry at myself for making a stupid mistake. And absolutely furious when I die just before winning the game :)

There were some times when I was satisfied, though. It was when I already achieved much more than with any prior character, and I could see that - as a player - I'm progressing. In a way, death is a positive experience, as "what does kill you makes you stronger" :)

Scott W said...

The five minutes before death--on a successful character--are generally a great deal of fun, as I flee whatever's killing me and use all of the limited-use items I've been saving in ine last attempt to not get killed.

The actual death is just kind of humiliating, though, since I'm pretty much helpless by then.

On a less-successful character, the whole death process is just kind of frustrating.