Exploring Death with Grim Fandango

If you want a video game that can deliver you an emotional and meaningful experience, this is it. Grim Fandango has become the archetype for successful emotional engagement through set-piece narrative and character development. Grim Fandango welcomes you to the Land of the Dead which is surprisingly Latin themed within a brilliant mash-up of Casablanca, bebop, jazz, Art Deco and Día de los Muertos Mexicana.

The protagonist Manny is a travel agent at the Department of Death. At the beginning of the first act Manny travels into the world of the living to perform the duties of a Grim Reaper (Manny’s actually a travel agent but at the Department of Death the two careers are quite similar). Few games have dared to embrace death so fully and in this particular quest, the game explores life from the perspective of the no-longer living. The flat, disquieting collages depicting the living world seem to invite us into Mannys head, and through his eyes, to question whether our own fear of death is a fear simply of the unknown, or of the garbled and misunderstood. Is it, in fact, the curtain separating the two that distorts our vision of both?

This metaphor accurately describes Sigmund Freud’s theories on thanatophobia or death anxiety. He saw the fear of death as a disguise for a deeper concern. It was not actually death that people feared, because in Freud's view nobody believes in his or her own death. The unconscious does not deal with the passage of time or with negations, which does not calculate amount of time left in one's life. People who express death-related fears, actually are trying to deal with the unresolved (childhood conflicts) or unknown circumstances that the individual cannot come to terms with or express emotion towards.

So there you have it, explore your fear of death and have a brilliant time of it. Grim Fandango is putting an appearance on next gen consoles soon.