Playing with death


Growing up, I played the odd video game. I was never a serious gamer, but I did have a fondness for the Zelda series, as well as a great RPG called Might and Magic. (I may be a bit of a sci-fi/fantasy nut.) They were fun, and they made me think just enough but not too much, which is what you want when you’re a teenager.

I came across a game this week that does make you think, however. It’s called “The End” and it is designed to allow 14- to 19-year-olds to think about their views on death and mortality. Really.

PCWorld has a review of the game, created by Channel 4 and Preloaded, up on their website. In a nutshell, players move around in a world controlling an avatar, and fight a boss monster at the end of each level, similar to many other games. The twist with this one is that, before going through the door toward the boss monster, the player must answer a question about their “inner self”, which is intended to give them insight into their views on life and death.

The game’s writer, Tom Chatfield, explained that this age group is thinking about adulthood and mortality, which is why they created the game – to use educational and entertaining tools to help this age group work through complicated issues regarding life and death.

Talking to children about life and death is never an easy task. Perhaps doing it through a video game is the answer.