Edward F. Melcer and Marjorie Ann M. Cuerdo. (2020). “Death & Rebirth in Platformer Games”. In Game User Experience and Player-Centered Design. Springer.
Marjorie Ann Cuerdo and Edward Melcer. (2020). “’I’ll Be Back’: A Taxonomy of Death and Rebirth in Platformer Video Games”. In Extended Abstracts of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. CHI '20, Honolulu, HI, USA. ACM.
(In Press) Marjorie Ann Cuerdo, Anika Mahajan, and Edward Melcer. (2021). “Die-r Consequences: Player Experience and the Design of Failure through Respawning Mechanics". In 2021 IEEE Conference on Games (CoG). IEEE.Advised by Edward Melcer.
Failure is a central aspect of almost every game, driving player perceptions of difficulty and impacting core aspects of game user experience. At the heart of failure in many game genres is player death, and platformer games in particular rely heavily on the use of death within their design. This work addresses the rich, underexplored space of in-game death (and respawning) through the creation of a generalized taxonomy of death in platformer games. The taxonomy consists of five notable dimensions: (1) obstacles, (2) death conditions, (3) aesthetics, (4) changes to player progress, and (5) respawn locations. These different dimensions have a number of potential implications for key aspects of player experience and design. The taxonomy could also be used to help improve the effectiveness of related engagement techniques such as dynamic difficulty adjustment.
We then explored how altering the consequences of death on playerprogress affected aspects of the player experience. Specifically, our research investigated the relationship of death and respawning mechanics – precisely the location of respawn points – to player experience (PX) constructs, such as mastery, challenge, autonomy, curiosity, and immersion. We developed a simple 2D platformer game that only differed in respawn point locations: the start of the game (permadeath), the start of a level, the last reached checkpoint, and the last manually saved point.