Death Positivity in Video Games

The Sims (Maxis, 2000)

Their deaths were permanent, they meant something,
and that directly affected the gameplay…

Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition (DrinkBox Studios, 2014)
Severed (Drinkbox Studios, 2016)
Rogue Legacy (Cellar Door Games, 2013)

[Rogue Legacy allows] the player to acknowledge and accept the deaths of their unique characters, and continue to adventure with their heirs and descendants…

Undertale (Toby Fox, 2015)
  • Sunburn! developed by Secret Crush in 2014 is a mobile puzzle game in which you play a captain of a space vessel that has crashed. Knowing that you and your crew are all doomed, your goal is to gather your crew and to plummet into the sun, dying together.
Gravity Ghost (Ivy Games, 2015)
  • Gravity Ghost developed by Ivy Games in 2015 is a physics-based puzzle game in which you play the ghost of a young girl, reuniting animal spirits with their physical bodies and uncovering the story of your death and the deaths of the animals you’re helping.
  • Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask developed in 2000 by Nintendo is arguably the darkest game in the Legend of Zelda series, with the subject of death and doom being central to the gameplay and narrative. You play a child version of the main character Link, who must repeatedly travel through time and use transformative masks to solve puzzles and stop the moon from crashing into the earth.
The Graveyard (Tale of Tales, 2008)
  • The Graveyard is a game developed by Tale of Tales in 2008, where the player assumes control of an elderly woman walking through a graveyard to a bench. The game is slow and beautiful and easily one of the best examples of a death positive video game.
  • Fate Tectonics is a world-building strategy puzzle game by Golden Gear Games developed in 2015. The player can build up a world and attempt to appease the gods, but also has the ability to destroy said world. There is no death or “game over” state but rather pieces that fall go back to “the void” — a place where your world starts and where it ends: both life and death.

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Toronto-based independent game developer and artist

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Gabby DaRienzo

Gabby DaRienzo

Toronto-based independent game developer and artist

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