Gaming and Grieving: Digital Games as Means of Confronting and Coping with Death

In: Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture
Beverley Foulks McGuire Professor of East Asian Religions, Philosophy and Religion Department, University of North Carolina Wilmington, 601 South College Rd, Wilmington, NC28403-5601, United States of America,

Search for other papers by Beverley Foulks McGuire in
Current site
Google Scholar
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



This paper explores structural similarities between playing a digital game and experiencing grief. The digital game Mandagon evokes a sense of loss through its game environment of grey mountainous landscapes, broken wooden scaffolds, and Tibetan temples and prayer flags in states of disrepair. It elicits feelings of disorientation and dependency as players repeatedly fall from scaffolds but ascend by using lifts or finding air bubble streams underwater. It encompasses terrestrial, corporeal, and cosmic crossings as players move through air, land, and water, as they neither inhabit nor encounter a human body, and they cross various cosmic thresholds through the course of the game. For players struggling with grief, it validates and normalizes feelings of emptiness, loneliness, and vulnerability in the wake of death and loss.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 1945 604 77
Full Text Views 155 37 0
PDF Views & Downloads 285 66 0