This is a trope that's very common in old-school video games, especially arcade games and arcade-like games.
Basically, when you die, you come back to life... right at the very spot where you died or at least right on the screen, and lose no progress.
The thing is, that does not mean that Death Is a Slap on the Wrist. In fact, this design element is most common in games which have a distinct lives limit, and running out of lives could mean starting the level over, or ending the game altogether.
You often get Mercy Invincibility for a while, since you're probably still in the middle of whatever dangerous conditions killed you.
Some games have this feature only in the multiplayer mode, but not the single player mode, which instead brings you back to the last checkpoint. Players also have to go back to the last checkpoint if all of them are defeated at the same time. This is sometimes done so that players who are defeated while their friend is still alive can quickly rejoin the action, rather than waiting for the next checkpoint to be reached.
Not to be confused with Auto-Revive, which is an item or spell in RPGs that allows you to come back to life on the spot, but must first be obtained or invoked. This trope is instead about a consistent play mechanic. Contrast Check-Point Starvation, where you can respawn way earlier in the game.
Examples of games that always let you do this:
- Most modern shmups follow this practice, as opposed to older shmups which tend to adapt the practice of using checkpoints: this is mostly because they're focused around getting high scores, as opposed to just surviving.
- Life Force / Salamander has your spaceship respawn right away flying in from offscreen after being destroyed, which is different from the Gradius series it is a spinoff of.
- Gradius V does this as well, despite being part of the main series. However, checkpoints can be re-enabled with the "Revival Start" option.
- Likewise, Parodius games either have this by default or you have to enable it manually.
- In the pre-Konami GX games, checkpoints are used. In the post-GX arcade games, you respawn at checkpoints in singleplayer or in-place in co-op, with ports of the post-GX games allowing this to be toggled for singleplayer games.
- Gradius Gaiden has this when two players are present.
- Konami's beat-em-ups - all of them, such as X-Men, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Arcade Game, The Simpsons, etc.
- The Contra games have you respawn from the corner of the screen right after you die.
- In the Lego Adaptation Games, players respawn exactly on the spot with only a loss of studs.
- Spider-Man: Friend or Foe combined this with infinite lives and easy combat, making for a very low-effort experience. One review noted that they left the game running and went for lunch, leaving Spider-Man and Black Cat standing on a mountaintop surrounded by enemies. When they returned, the heroes hadn't budged and the enemies were all gone without a trace.
- In Torchlight you can respawn on the spot, at the start of the floor or back in town depending on how much XP and money you're willing to lose. So there's a choice, and a penalty to go with it.
- The Mr. Driller series has you respawn physically right where you stand.
- This happens in But That Was Yesterday when you fall off a cliff or a roof.
- In the Glider series, the glider always respawns on the same screen, generally near where you entered.
- Mach Rider has the biker split into pieces on death... and the pieces re-combine at the same spot.
- Jet Set Willy had this, though it sometimes respawned you in harm's way, leading to a very fast Game Over due to lack of Mercy Invincibility.
- Metal Slug series would respawn player on the screen after death, along with brief Mercy Invincibility. Location would often be either left side of the screen or middle of it. The enemies tend to suddenly panic when they see your character suddenly get back up with full health and all your grenades.
- Minecraft's multiplayer has the /back command, which instantly teleports you to the point where you died, and is usually enabled on most servers. Quite handy given that when you die, your items are left behind.
- In Wario World, if you die, you can continue right where you left off as long as you have enough coins.
- The Sega Genesis game Sub Terrania offers this when fighting against the Final Boss: otherwise, you Respawn On The Starting Platform.
- E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy has "Resurrectors", which will bring the player back to life where he died. There are a limited amount of resurrectors, and resurrectors are shared between players online. Falling into bottomless pits or running out of resurrectors results in the player being transported back to the dream world, stating that the previous life was just one possible future.
- The Raiden Fighters shoot-em-ups almost always let you respawn without losing any progress, no matter how many credits you burn through. However, the final mission of each game requires you to beat it with one credit, since if you use a continue you get sent back to the beginning of the level.
- Devil May Cry introduced Gold orbs in the Updated Re-release of the third game, and carried them to the fourth. Unlike the yellow orbs that acted like checkpoint tickets for every door you passed, gold orbs let you revive with full health regardless of where you are; checkpoints are free and infinite. You'll need them.
- Done in Speedy Eggbert.
- After dying in Hyper Princess Pitch you drop back into the level at the exact spot which you died. This creates an explosion that kills nearby enemies and gives you a few seconds of Mercy Invincibility. Of course, the game has limited lives.
- Skeleton Krew actually lets players move themselves around after "diskorporation" so they can respawn where they want to.
- In timed racing games such as OutRun and Hang-On, your vehicle reappears intact on the road in case you crash. As you recover, time keeps running down, so generally you can't afford to crash more than twice.
- In both single and multiplayer, Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain respawns you at the nearest checkpoint with the level in the same state as when you died, which unfortunately means that the timer is still ticking from where it left off, and failure of any mission objectives will force you to completely restart the level.
- In Skweek, you normally respawn where you died, but pressing the fire button quickly after dying allows you to restart the level from the top, with the timer reset.
- Final Fantasy XIII: The game auto saves before every battle. If you die, you are offered the choice of Retry or Quit. Retry respawns you just before the battle, allowing you to either try again or walk away.
- In Undertale, if you die during the battle against the Golden Ending's final boss, you automatically revive.
- Watch_Dogs 2 let you spawn right on the same spot (sometimes nearby) where you died when not in a mission. The same case when you get arrested by police instead of sending you to a nearby police headquarter.
- Doom Eternal revisits the 1-Up mechanic its classic games in the Doom franchise averted: if players are killed in the campaign after finding an extra life, rather than being forced to restart at the last checkpoint, they will simply get back up from where they were last defeated.
Examples of games that only let you do this in multiplayer:
- In the SNES Goof Troop game, if Goofy or Max lost all of their lives, they could respawn with three more lives when the other player entered a new room. This doesn't happen in single-player mode, and it can't be used when fighting the level's boss. If both players lose all of their lives, they could use a continue to keep going from the same room where the surviving player lost their last life. If they ran out of continues, the player/s would have to start the level over.
- New Super Mario Bros. Wii and New Super Mario Bros. U, if you die in multiplayer, you soon come back to life in a bubble. If all players are dead at the same time, or they all put themselves in bubbles at the same time, you go back to a checkpoint.
- Donkey Kong Country Returns behaves in the same way, but with balloons instead of bubbles and no way to self-balloon yourself except death.
- The original Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers NES game allowed the defeated player to come back on a balloon as long as one player survived. If both were defeated, it's back to the last checkpoint.
- The Serious Sam games, although it's a server setting. The game host can choose to enable respawning at checkpoints (which are plentiful), or respawning on the spot. Both forms of respawning only exist in the cooperative mode.
- Kirby's Return to Dreamland has a somewhat unbalanced form of this in multiplayer. Players 2 to 4 can die without everyone being sent back to the start of the current level section, but player 1's death always puts you back at the start of the section.
- Some team-oriented games allow players to revive each other to this effect, such as Spiral Knights and Mass Effect 3's multiplayer. Players can usually also revive themselves, but the penalty for that is higher. In most cases, defeating all the current enemies also revives every downed player, usually right where they died.
- The NES version of Rushn Attack did this, although it could be manipulated to work in single player as well.
- In Mendel Palace, as long as one player is alive, the other player can come back to life without resetting the board if they're defeated.