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Session

Death and Dying in Videogames

Games Industry

Death and Dying in Videogames

About

Death pervades videogames. It is how games signify failure and success. Players of Call of Duty: Black Ops killed each other’s avatars more than 60 billion times within a year of its release. Yet games also explore death and grief in more meaningful and powerful ways. That Dragon, Cancer explores the experience of raising a child with terminal cancer, based on the developers' own son. As games have become part of our social lives, they are increasingly sites of commemoration and mourning. Online games like World of Warcraft are now filled with monuments to real people who have passed, and ‘death positive’ videogames are a growing genre.

In this session, game developers and researchers will discuss the myriad ways that videogames incorporate both serious and playful themes of mortality. Dr Marcus Carter and Dr Fraser Allison will introduce the academic research on the topic and share highlights from their upcoming book ‘Death and Dying in Videogames’. Susan Dang (Ghost Pattern) will talk about designing around death in the heartfelt narrative game Wayward Strand. Mads Mackenzie (Fine Feathered Fiends / Freeplay Independent Games Festival) will delve into videogame makers’ use of Gothic themes and atmospheres.

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