Re-Examining the Role of Digital Death
How death has evolved over the four decades of gaming.
By: Nickolai Adkins May 9, 2012
There is possibly no greater representative icon for the entirety of gaming than that of the game over screen. That negative void with stolid letters painted cryptically across; there is a certain mysticism surrounding the screen, the dark back corners of arcade holes that once used to thrive, and the natural competition to overcome the inevitability of failure that it represents.
Bore with the medium's creation in arcade cabinets and the surrounding culture that developed after their inception, the challenge of prolonging play time and avoiding inevitable failure in death became the central function for nearly every game created to date. In the form of a barrel throwing gorilla, the simple existence of a play clock, infinite and unseen pits that trail into the unknown below the screens of any number of platformers, or even in competition between players, video games have always been a participatory form of near exclusive survival.