The Game Design Lessons Of Permadeath

There have been a number of intriguing articles written over the last few weeks about one of the key concepts, and most criticised features, of roguelikes: permanent death, often shortened to permadeath.

This is the notion that should the game avatar die, the player should start from the beginning of the game. Permadeath is the reason why it can take years to beat certain roguelikes - in my case, I have never won a game of Angband or any variant of it in over ten years of playing - and why so many people initially turn away from the genre.

But in a world of quick saves and regenerating health, permadeath is the one compelling design feature that you need to appreciate to understand the genre.

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