13: Even More Death

Last week the pod panel discussed the ‘game over’ side of video game death, but this week Sinan Kubba, Joe DeLia, and games journalist Jared Newman get far more morbid with more emphasis on how game narrative handles death in particular. That means lots of spoilers, so if you don’t want Silent Hill 2, Dead Space, GTA IV, Fallout 3, Madworld, Metal Gear Solid 3, Mass Effect, Final Fantasy 7, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, The Passage, and Heavenly Sword spoilt for you, best to fast forward a bit when you hear them come up.

One Response to “13: Even More Death”
  1. Jack@WiiDS says:

    Great show guys, I know i’m a bit late with ring this one but I wanted to recount a few of my own experiences and thoughts.

    Let’s start off with a few examples of character death affecting me in games.


    I must begin with the character death that I can still remember the most vividly, which was that of Crono in Chrono Trigger.

    The story of Chrono Trigger is basically that of trying to change the inevitable, the destruction of the world in 999 years time. Throughout the game you witness key points that lead to this destruction, unable to stop it, before you finally become directly involved and face the beast itself. Being the insanely powerful deathmonger it is the battle is a rather short one basically seeing every character in your party fall leaving only yourself, powerless to fight.

    It’s after this battle as Larvos is preparing to destroy everything that you gain control o your character again, your party and friends are unconscious slowly being drawn to their doom, you can try and delay your fate but ultimately you must choose to sacrifice yourself to save your friends and the world by walking up to Larvos and performing one last fatal attack and meet your demise.

    The fact that you yourself must come to the conclusion of sacrifice and deal with the inevitable had a powerful effect on me. The game doesn’t tell you this is what must be done and nobody wants to openly kill themselves.

    As well as the actual control and decision over the final action the death completely changes the way the game works. You can then choose who will be the leader of your party, and thus you begin to see the game through their eyes. Do you go straight back and face Larvos once more to exact revenge or bide your time? Do you attempt to try and bend time to your will and go through the trails of resurrecting Crono, or do you fight in his name instead? The game is no longer linear but instead opens up ten to twenty quests which you must decide which to follow. The game becomes one of your own choosing rather than one of Crono’s.

    One epic death scenario is enough for one game, but Chrono Trigger delivers us two. Throughout the game you learn the story of Frog (your party member) and Magus (one of the main villains). Throughout the game you lean both of the characters stories and their motives, each with an equally valid stance. Finally you real the epic one on one battle between these two characters and at the end you must decide whether to deliver the finishing blow, or let him roam free. Both choices offer advantages to both the characters and your playing experience and both affect the rest of the game. With no “correct choice” it is the players moral choice that affects the rest of the game rather than that of gain.

    Next up is The Legend Of Zelda: Links Awakening. No, Link doesn’t die, in fact he is the only character that makes it to the end of the game. The game does an excellent job of of involving you with every character in the game, each with a vibrant, colourful and, most importantly, likeable personality. Towards the end of the game you are told that by defeating the final boss and finally managing to leave the island where you are stranded, you must sacrifice every character you have met so far. I remember spending hours wandering around the island trying to delay the inevitable deaths of all those I cared about.

    Hope you fond these two examples interesting and keep up the good work.

    Jack “The Jumpman” Smith

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