Nobody’s perfect, and most game designs account for our inevitable goofs by offering the player multiple “lives.” Should a flutter in concentration send your hero to an unheroic demise, a quick trip to the continue screen will usually put your mistake to rights. A rare few games and players though have explored a different paradigm: the unforgiving world of “Roguelikes” and permadeath, where losing a character life means erasing all progress and starting from scratch. What happens to game design and player experience when the usual margins of error are removed? And what motivates the people who love playing games with these high-stakes mechanics? Join us on a daring run through the harrowing world of permadeath games on Episode 18 of Vertical Slice.
- Rogue is the 1980 dungeon crawler that forms the inspiration for the Roguelike genre.
- Looking to try a Roguelike for yourself? Some great recent examples of the genre include Darkest Dungeon, Spelunky, and Diablo III’s hardcore mode.
- Man vs. Snake, the true story of two men battling for the world record in Nibbler, is a charming look at an unusual permutation of high-stakes gameplay.
Image credit: Red Hook Studios