I have found myself struck with admiration recently by games that I have played that have put me in less than empowering positions, games that celebrate difficulty and hardship, struggling and deprivation, rather than empowerment and excess.
The option to “continue” changed the nature of death in games. It could certainly remain an annoyance and a sign of failure, an indication that the player is not executing well, but frankly, any number of games also seem to use death as a feature, as a necessary mechanic for play.
I find myself more discouraged by the games that encourage me and more interested in letting brief failure teach me patience, better strategy, and to appreciate the few victories I squeeze out of hours and hours of play.
The greater the failure of the video game player, the greater the financial reward of the video game machine’s owner. More frustration, more 'death', used to mean more quarters per hour. These days, it means something else, entirely.
This week Flash Points looks at the role the internet played in the creation and distribution of 1 Lunatic 1 Icepick, arguably the world's first snuff movie. We also anticipate the release of Dark Souls for the PC, a game that is literally designed to kill you.