The evolution of heaven and hell in gaming

The afterlife is a commonly held human belief. Many of the world’s major religions hold some concept of an eternal paradise for the virtuous and a lake of searing fire for society’s scum. Some belief systems even have a holding chamber for the guys that fit somewhere in-between. While certain concepts and particulars about Heaven and Hell vary between cultures and faiths, the basic ideas are universally understood, and we all have one thing in common: we love depicting Heaven and Hell in our entertainment media.

Gaming actually has a lengthy and interesting history of taking players to the realm of the afterlife – not just Hell, but Heaven and Purgatory – and giving us unique takes on both the appearance and purpose of these post-life locales.

For this feature, we’ve opted to focus on a mix of titles representing an interesting variety of interpretations of the afterlife. We opted to leave off a few more recent games featuring brief references to the hereafter (Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Bayonetta) to instead spend more time with more prominent displays of the afterlife and some lesser-known titles lost in gaming purgatory. So let Gamesradar act as Virgil to your (literary) Dante and guide you on a chronological trip through gaming’s historical hereafters…