Grief in Mobile Games


  • Emma Reay


Mobile games, Grief, Death, Bereavement, Ludonarrative dissonance, Close reading


This paper explores how grief in represented in mobile games. Through close readings of five mobile games, I argue that just as poetic language disrupts everyday language by drawing attention to the surface and texture of words, so too can poetic game elements disrupt the standard grammar of their platforms, thereby reawakening players to the layered meanings of ludic rhythms, forms, and materials. I suggest that some mobile games deliberately subvert the norms of their platforms and genres in order to create interpretive gaps. The discrepancy between players’ expectations of mobile games and the modes of engagement that these games make possible produces irresolvable contradictions that we might think of as ludic aporia. I conclude that these points of friction and uncertainty are key to expressing experiences that are as fraught, as dissonant, and as bittersweet as grief.





@Conference{digra1921, title ="Grief in Mobile Games", year = "2023", author = "Reay, Emma", publisher = "DiGRA", address = "Tampere", howpublished = "\url{}", booktitle = "Conference Proceedings of DiGRA 2023 Conference: Limits and Margins of Games Settings"}