Fear, loss and meaningful play: Permadeath in DayZ | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 9, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1757-191X
  • E-ISSN: 1757-1928



This article interrogates player experiences with permadeath in the massively multiplayer online first-person shooter (MMOFPS) . We analyse the differences between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ instances of permadeath and argue that meaningfulness – in accordance with Salen and Zimmerman’s concept of meaningful play – is a critical requirement for positive experiences with permadeath. In doing so, this article suggests new ontologies for meaningfulness in play, and demonstrates how meaningfulness can be a useful lens through which to understand player experiences with negatively valenced play. We conclude by relating the appeal of permadeath to the , drawing parallels between the appeal of and fear-inducing horror games such as and gratuitously violent and gory games such as .


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