You Only Live Once (game)

by Tyler Gould

6 October 2009


The consequences of death are given no thought in most video games, where, even in the most open-ended games, the player’s role is that of an iterator, mechanically moving the plot from one position to another, engaging the game by turning pages and being allowed access to new experiences. The threat of death creates the illusion of challenge, though in modern games it simply results in a restart at the most recent checkpoint.

In You Only Live Once, death is the point, as are grief and liability, and had me laughing both at the game and myself, in that it never occurred to me, after all the platforms I’ve jumped short of, that Mario may have broken his neck as he hit the ground.

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