Bit Graves for Pixel Bodies – Death and Mourning in Digital Games

Tapani Joelsson, Markku Reunanen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

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Death is a common event in digital games: at times as a narrative element, and most often as part of the game mechanics – the death of the player character or an enemy commonly follows from good or bad performance. However, the consequences of death, such as burial or mourning, have received little attention so far. In this study we analyze the last journeys of pixel bodies in games. Based on close reading, we have formed three main themes: Death, Burial and burial sites, and Mourning in the game world. The findings tell about the role of death in game design: storytelling, game mechanics and visuals. The article links game studies to death studies, bringing new analytical insight into a topic that has often been omitted or trivialized in digital games.
Translated title of the contributionBit Graves for Pixel Bodies – Death and Mourning in Digital Games
Original languageFinnish
Title of host publicationPelitutkimuksen vuosikirja 2019
EditorsJonne Arjoranta, Usva Friman, Raine Koskimaa, Frans Mäyrä, Olli Sotamaa, Jaakko Suominen
PublisherPelitutkimuksen seura ry.
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2019
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series

NamePelitutkimuksen vuosikirja
ISSN (Electronic)1798-355X


  • computer games
  • video games
  • death
  • mourning
  • burial


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