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Could Permanent Death Ever Work?

Reid wonders if it's possible to design a single player game where players accept that death is final, at least until they start the game over again, from the start.

I've been reading the blog posts related to how death is treated in games over at Game Design Aspect of the Month (http://gamedesignaspect.blogspot.com/). I wonder if it's possible to design a game where players willingly accept that death is permenant. Meaning, if they die during a game, they have to start over from scratch.

What kind of game design would make that work? Death is final, as far as we understand it today, so does that mean if a game were to employ this same idea, that the player character must be different every time the player starts a new session?

Must the game be of a shorter length so not to frustrate those who suffer a premature death while very close to the end?

Must the game even have a beginning, middle and end? Could the game be purely  systemic or open world and when you die, you need to start with a new char as if you were reincarnated? In that case, the world stays permanent, but your char and your progress don't.

I think the longer the game is, the more meaningful the event of permanent death will have to be in order to justify it. In fact, the player may feel that the journey was complete and there is no point to start again from the beginning.

Also posted at my personal blog Reiding...

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