Life Support

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Many games portray the fact that some entities are biological, and thus require resources such as food and air to maintain their existence. For example, many first person shooters where the player controls a human-like character, there is an implicit necessity for breathing oxygen. Since humans can't breathe underwater and cant hold their breath indefinitely, the player controlled entity begins to suffer damage if too much time passes.

Strictly speaking, air and food are resources that the player needs to keep on playing. In abstract terms, they are no different than gold, credits, lives or whatever resource the a game involves. However, Life Support is presented separately since there is a definite attempt at simulating the rules that govern the existence of life in the real world.


Strong Examples

Mr. Driller

In Mr. Driller (Dreamcast) the player controls a character who is drilling holes in the ground. As time goes by he consumes his reserves of breathable air. The player must reach the bottom of the pit he is drilling before his air runs out. Along the way, the player can encounter air bubbles that replenish his reserves.


In Rogue, the player controls a character who is exploring a dungeon filled with monsters, traps and treasure. As time goes by the character is affected by lack of sustenance (hunger) and must quickly try to find some food in order to survive.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon

In both versions of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, the Pokémon party members have a "Belly" meter, which represents their hunger level when in a dungeon. Whenever a character uses an attack or takes a certain number of steps, their Belly meter goes down. If their Belly reaches zero, then the character is weakened and their HP starts to go down. Belly can be refilled by eating Apples and other recovery items.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

In Oblivion, along with the typical "Health" bar, the players also have Stamina and (conditional) Breath bars. If the player is underwater and goes without breathing for too long, their health will begin to drain. If the players overexert themselves and run low on fatigue, they will collapse and become wide open to attack. This can be remedied by waiting for the gauge to refill, by eating food or by drinking magic potions.

Weak Examples

Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem

In Eternal Darkness Sanity's Requiem a player controls a number of characters who explores frighting environments. As a player's character aggressively interacts with the environment (run, attack, and so forth) the character looses stamina and begins to fatigue hindering the player's ability to perform said actions. After a period of rest, a players ability returns to normal.

Metroid Prime II: Echoes

Early on in the game, Samus is confronted with the task of jumping between two realms, one of light and one of darkness. The darkworld is caustic and is protected at junctions by light crystals, but while not under the protection of the light crystals (or later the two suit upgrades that allow easier navigation) Samus quickly loses her armor power, creating a sense of urgency throughout the game.

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver

The gameplay of Soul Reaver takes place in two worlds simultaneously: the physical realm and the spectral realm. While in the physical realm, your player character Raziel must kill enemies and consume their souls in order to contine project himself in that world. If Raziel does not devour a soul for too long a time, he is cast back into the spectral realm. While this can be a setback, it is not the game-ending scenario that Life Support exhaustion usually implies.

World of Warcraft

Wow is a very weak example of life support. In WoW, players do need oxygen when submerged under water and will die if they stay under for too long. However, there are numerous potions and spells that can provide the player with the ability to breath under water for a certain amount of time. Also, the Druid can obtain a water form that can breath under water indeffinately. When not under the water, oxygen is not a factor. As far as food goes, a player needs to eat food to regain health that is lost in battle. However, as with the oxygen, there are a number of spells and potions that can also be used to regain health. A player can reach level 70 without ever eating a piece of food because all they have to do when health is lost is stand still and their health will slowly be regained.

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