The Legacy of Der müde Tod in Last Day of June: Creating Tragedy in Games

Group project summary, by leader Leo Alvarez

Tragedy is hard to pull off in video games, a medium so driven by the player’s desire to accomplish tasks and achieve the goals set forth by the game designers. What’s more, joining the formerly separated roles of the viewer and the on-screen character into one presents unique challenges in terms of creating motivation and working with the newly bridged psychical distance to create an effective tragedy. With all of these obstacles in its way, how can a game like Last Day of June possibly hold a candle to a tragic film like Der müde Tod? In its use of an episodic structure, a “retry narrative” and a final sacrifice, Last Day of June carries and builds on the legacy of Fritz Lang’s silent film Der müde Tod, ushering the death-defying romantic tragedy template into the era of video-games, and exemplifying how tragedy can be possible in a game.

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