The memorization of some specific dynamics implies the failure of the player: even if a video game can be theoretically completed without failures, the player mustpractically learn from every huge mistake, which often corresponds to the death of the main character. Every avatar constantly lives in a vulnerable existence condition that implies its death during the ludic plan, which is the semantic core of the player’s activity (Fulco2004). The paper would like to present will consider two different video games, Dead Cells(Motion Twin, 2017) and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice(From Software, 2019), in which death is not only a necessary part of the ludic progression, but it becomes also a part of the narrative progression and specifically of the environmental storytelling (Jenkins2004; Nitsche 2008; D’Armenio 2014). The analysis of these two different cases(which will be mainly based on the field of game studies) will underline two different modes to understand the narrative importance of death/failure in the videogame medium.
After the achievement of my master’s degree with maximum votes and honors in 2015, I became a P.hD. student at the University of Udine and I focused my academic research on narrative seriality and moral choices throughout videogame history. During my PhD, I spoke at various National and International Conferences, and I taught several Seminars and Laboratories focused on Multimedia Language and Game Writing to high school students and undergraduate students. In 2019 I achieved my P.hD. title, and subsequently developed my final dissertation into a book named "Serial Games - Serialità e scelte morali nella narrazione interattiva (Idra Editing, Rome 2020)" . I am now continuing to focus on Game Studies as an independent researcher and as a Game Writing adjunct teacher.
This paper investigates how players of the smartphone game AdVenture Capitalist (Hyper Hippo Productions, 2014) write about the end of the game, and the end of capitalism with it. The game belongs to the popular genre of incremental and idle games: playful simulations that, once started, keep increasing their internal score regardless of player intervention. Examining the sporadic written traces of players’ disengagement from the simulation, published on the developer’s online forum from 2015 until 2018, the paper intervenes in broader debates regarding the effects of games and their political potential. It concludes that exceptional cases of overinterpretation might reveal complex affective systems and structures of feeling, and a transformative approach towards video games and the political and economic ideology represented therein (Anable, 2018; Giddings, 2018; Kline et al., 2003).
Paolo Ruffino is lecturer in Communication and Media at the University of Liverpool. He is the author of Future Gaming: Creative Interventions in Video Game Culture (Goldsmiths Press, 2018), editor of Rethinking Gamification (Meson Press, 2014) and Independent Videogames: Cultures, Networks, Technics and Politics (Routledge, 2020). He has been writing numerous essays on video game culture, independent game development, gamification and the Quantified Self. He is currently researching nonhuman forms of game-play and game development. He is a member of British DiGRA (Digital Games Research Association), and chair of DiGRA Italia.