Forgive me for that title. Let’s talk about survival games.
Survival games are pretty neat. In the past few years alone there have been a number of survival games that have come out as a sub-genre of horror but I’m mainly going to focus on The Forest and The Long Dark.
Both games throw the player into extreme situations, ironically in vastly different settings: The Forest is set on a forested island while The Long Dark is set in Northern Canada. Both games throw you deep into the wilderness after you survive a plane crash. After that, you’re on your own.
Finding shelter and food are usually my top priorities in these games. In the Long Dark especially, the elements are the real danger. I’ve often died out in the snow while playing that game. The game factors warmth, hunger, and thirst while you explore the area, slowly filling up like a warped version of The Sims. Hunger and warmth also factor into the Forest, but are less central. The Forest focuses more on mobs than on braving the weather.
Enemies do exist in both games, but The Forest uses them more fully. The island your plane crashed on is populated by tribal, mutant cannibals. They aren’t fully explained just yet, but they’re certainly a scary bunch. They don’t attack, not immediately anyways. Iv’e often seen them skulking at the edges of my campsite, looking towards me before running back into the forest. It does wonders for building suspense. Meanwhile, The Long Dark has wolves and bears that usually just hunt deer and rabbits, but will turn on you if you get too close.
The tricky thing with these games is that there’s not much room for set narrative. Most of the experience comes from organically emergent gameplay, something I might write about in the future. Truth be told, the games can also get a bit boring when you find out how to effectively play the game. It’s possible to survive dozens of days in the Long Dark simply by sleeping and foraging over and over.
What do you think? I’ve definitely left out game such as Rust or Day Z, which I have not yet played myself. There’s also survival horror games such as Amnesia or Outlast, which focus more of the horror aspects. Comment below!