Permadeath in Video Games

1 minute read

Amazing Illustration by Karthik Bala

Some of the most fun I’ve had playing video games was playing Diablo 3’s hardcore mode with friends. We were pretty bad at the game so I’m not sure we were the audience Blizzard had in mind when creating hardcore mode.

I think the reason hardcore mode was so fun, was having actual consequences for dying. A lot of games have consequences for dying, but they’re just like losing xp or some money or something. In diablo, your character was deleted. Thus, whenever we in a tight spot (which happened often because, as I said before, we were terrible) the game would get 100x more intense. Yea it was frustrating having to make a new character and start from level 1, but it was worth it.

Permadeath doesn’t work in all games though. A lot of people might disagree, but I thought Don’t Starve wasn’t really a good game for permadeath. When you start off, there are no tutorials, and you’re supposed to figure things out yourself. But how are you supposed to explore if you’re afraid of dying and starting over all the time? I never went in swamps since I heard you die right away. I never attacked beefalo since I didn’t want risk dying. I didn’t ever go too far from my base. I heard some people say that the game does get boring after a while, so maybe permadeath was implemented to make the game interesting.

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