The multiple lives of permadeath: An introduction | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 9, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1757-191X
  • E-ISSN: 1757-1928



In the introduction to this special issue, the editors argue that permadeath games respond to the increasing prevalence of the social, ecological, psychological, and economic conditions of precarity. Permanent death, or permadeath, has experienced a renaissance of sorts with the release of games such as and . Permadeath games emphasize the precariousness of play by making defeat, failure, and death irrevocable, countering mainstream design paradigms that embrace infinite retries and the devaluation of death. Drawing on Judith Butler’s deployment of the term ‘precarity,’ the editors contend that permadeath’s resurgence is evidence of a growing awareness of the tenuousness of human existence, not only in economic terms, but also in terms that are moral and ecological. In other words, the recent rise in experiments with the mechanics of death might relate directly to contemporary issues such as anthropogenic climate change, neo-liberal economics and even the so-called death of the monolithic ‘gamer’ identity. Permadeath games are uniquely situated to voice the inherent precarity of what it means to live and play in the early twenty-first century.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...
  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): death; failure; permadeath; play; precariousness; precarity; risk
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a success
Invalid data
An error occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error