What is permadeath?

Permadeath is a gameplay mechanic in which your playable character can permanently die. No unlimited lives. No second chances. You have to start over. This mechanic adds a sense of urgency to the proceedings. You have to be more calculated in your approach, more cautious. There’s more weight to your actions, more meaning. As such, you pay special attention to your environment, since any lapse in vigilance can spell your doom.

Permadeath mimics life. No takebacks. High stakes.

Permadead isn’t about video games. Not really. That’s just the starting point. It’s about life, I guess, or maybe psychology or philosophy. Is it existential? Who the hell knows?

It’s about taking stock and gaining perspective and having some fun along the way.

If that sounds cool, hit that subscribe button. If not, well, have a great day.

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A gamer's search for meaning.


Substacks: 401 Que? and Canonical 5. Words in The New York Times, Slate, Adweek and Medium, among others.