The strange allure of video game masochism.

The art of play.
Sept. 21 2007 2:11 PM

Curiosity Killed the Gamer

The strange allure of murdering your video game persona.

Click here to launch a video slide show.

One of the biggest attractions at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo was an interactive snuff film called Pain. The game, which will be released this fall for the PlayStation 3, has a simple premise: Using a giant slingshot, inflict as much damage as possible on your character. Fling him into the sky or slam him against a bus. Send him sprawling across a busy city skyline and onto the hoods of passing cars. The more creative the death, the better. Pain will even reportedly include an option for a kind of injury H-O-R-S-E, wherein players attempt to mimic each other's onscreen disasters.

It's a provocative idea, and the game has already garnered a good deal of attention. But Pain's Colorado-based developer, Idol Minds, didn't exactly pioneer the art and science of virtual suicide. The company is simply riffing off a decades-old impulse, one that dates back to the earliest days of gaming. What'll happen if my car goes flying off the track? How about when Mario falls into the fire pit? From the first Nintendo console to modern shooters, we've always used self-destruction to push at the edges of our favorite video games.

Advertisement

Click here for a slide-show history of video game masochism.

.

Matthew Shaer is a writer and editor in Boston.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

Even if You Don’t Like Batman, You Might Like Gotham

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

So, Apple Is Not Shuttering Beats, but the Streaming Service Will Probably Be Folded Into iTunes

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Outward
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 22 2014 4:06 PM No, Women’s Soccer Does Not Have a Domestic Violence Problem Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 5:45 PM The University of California Corrects “Injustice” by Making Its Rich Chancellors Even Richer
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.