Wednesday, April 1, 2015

7 Days To Die: A Video Game Diary

In the apocalypse, there are three groups of people.  There are those who are natural survivors, fully prepared to face the harsh new reality head-on and not only stay alive but thrive.  There are those who succumb to the ruination of mankind, either becoming savages, the living dead, or simply dying.  Then there are those who fumble their way around and frequently have to start over because they keep screwing up.

This is my story.  You can figure out which group I belong in.

My eyes open.  I don't know this land.  I know know this person I am.  I feel like a randomly assembled mass of body parts, put together without any great design or plan.  No god, no genetics could have possibly resulted in this form, this lack of identity.  I stare at my hands for the first few seconds of life before I try to learn more about my surroundings.

The landscape around me is destitute.  At my feet is a scrap of a newspaper with a headline talking about nuclear war.  The trees are burnt and lifeless.  There's a corner of a ruined building near me, I can see an oven and a window left in the scraps of what was once someone's life.  There's a shell of a car near me along with several piles of trash.

I know I'll need food and water to survive.  I search through my surroundings and find empty cans, a hub cap, and something strangely called a "repair tool."  For a moment, off in the distance, I think I hear a baby cry.  I push it out of my head and go to the remains of the house.

Searching a bird nest gives me eighteen feathers, something that would leave me to believe there's a very naked bird flying around somewhere, but I see nothing in the sky above me.  In the distance I hear a moaning sound, like someone in pain.  I look around, but while I do see a pig wandering by in the distance, I see no other signs of life.  There are other building remains, however, so I head towards those next.  I know eventually I'll need to find shelter.  Night is coming.

Through the buildings I find an egg in another bird nest, a lead pipe, some metal scraps, and lots of other debris of human civilization.  I don't know what I'll use this stuff for, but it must be useful for something.   I look out into the wasteland to see if that pig is still out there.  I see it, but it appears a figure is running after it awkwardly.  I decide it's time to move before I'm discovered.

However, I'm too late.  The moaning sound was some terrible undead being hiding around one of the houses.  It climbs up onto the floor of the house I'm on.  It's all I can do to punch the creature in the face like the worst trained boxer of all time.  Fortunately, my blows are enough to interrupt its own attempts to attack me back.  After many blows that leave my fists covered in whatever organic substance this body becomes once blood and tissue are dead, it falls and stops moving.

I search it.  Nothing.  I can't even recover the clothes it wears, but would I really want to wear them if I could?

There's more moans.  Dark figures are approaching the house.  I can't see the pig any more.  I make a break for where the car was to get back to the road.  If I follow the road, I'll find civilization.

As I run, I make slight detours off the road when I spot a figure ahead.  I don't want to engage in any fights when I don't have any means of healing myself afterwards.  I make only one exception, to beat to death a large, bloated figure.  I realize I targeted him because he was different, therefore special.  I thought it might mean more to defeat him than to defeat a regular-looking figure.

He carries nothing.  I'm no better off having done this, and in fact I need to rest to regain some stamina before I can run from the figures that are following me.

I can't help but wonder if this is a metaphor for something.

I don't know how long I've been running, but this isn't the same wasteland.  Behind me lies the nuclear fire-swept landscape I'm familiar with, but ahead of me the road suddenly turns into a hill covered in trees.  Snow coats everything.  I walk up to a nearby bush and pull it from the ground, wondering if its safe to eat when a large figure steps out from behind a tree.  It looks like a stereotypical "Paul Bunyan" style lumberjack, only with a blueish tint.  I punch it in the face, but it keeps grinning.  Frustrated by my inability to figure out where I am or what I need to do, I beat this strange, frozen creature to death with my fists like I did the others, wondering if somehow it's another "special" type of zombie.

I find nothing on its body.  I wouldn't mind its clothes, I would assume the cold would keep the body from leaking too much into the shirt and pants, and this hill is cold.

I flee into the hills when I see more lumberjacks making their way towards me.

Finally, I spot a building in the distance.  If I can just take down three normal-looking zombie-like figures, I 'll be fine.  I come up to one from a strategic angle, flexing my fingers before curling them into fists.  I immediately start beating the first one when suddenly my eyes flash red with pain.  I didn't see a nearby corpse that came to life, crawled over, and slashed at me.  I stumble back and almost trip over another one that came up behind me.  Running for my life, I realize I'm bleeding and will die unless I figure out how to heal myself.  Ducking behind a tree, I search through my backpack for anything that might improvise as a bandage, just to realize as I do that I'm not wearing anything more than basic underwear.

Why am I naked?

The darkness takes me.

When my eyes reopen, I'm on the edge of a forest.  In front of me are thick trees.  I can see deer cresting a nearby hill, and the grass between the trees is easily waist-deep.  Behind me appears to be a green field.  The grass is lower, so I head into it in order to have a better view of the area around me.

I collapse again five steps later.  I realize I can hear the ticking of a Geiger counter.  I guess that wasn't poorly rendered grass at all, but glowing green radiation.

The darkness takes me.

When my eyes open, I'm in a desert.  There's a flat building in the distance, and cacti all around me.  I'm tempted to punch a cactus, but afraid it would hurt.  I also realize I have none of my previous possessions any more, but I'm still wearing the same underwear and carrying the same backpack.  As I head to the building, I realize that, somehow, it's a lumber camp.  Despite there being no big trees in the forest, the building itself has many large logs stacked nearby, waiting to be worked.  The building itself is made out of clay and bricks.  The presence of the logs puzzles and angers me, but I have no time to think about it, because more zombies are here.  With no weapons and them already grouped together, I have little hope of defeating them, so I plan on outsmarting them.  I lure them around the log pile to attempt to bring them to the back of the building so I can run around, get inside, and close the door.  Anything I find inside can surely be made into a weapon if I'm desperate enough.

Once the zombies are in position, I rush around just to find the entire front of the building is open to the world.  I stand there, dumbfounded before searching around in a panic for something I can use to take out the monsters outside before I hear moaning.  I turn around, and discover that I waited too long.  The zombies circled back.

I close my eyes, and wait for darkness to take me.

I open my eyes.  I'm surrounded by a sea of green. I take one step, collapse, and hear the ticking sound again.

The darkness takes me.

I'm standing at a fork in the road in the woods.  To the right appears to be a building.  To the left, more woods.  Behind me...I don't care what's behind me.  I start to the right, just to realize that what might have been a building instead was just an optical illusion, once I get close enough that it should take a definite shape, it instead vanishes and turns out to be more trees clustered together.

Out of fear that I passed out on something important, I turn off the road to find the other fork, stopping only to find what I can describe as "small rocks" that I pick up.

Because you never know, and there's no other traces of civilization to loot from.

Sure enough, down the other fork, I do eventually find a house.  It's surrounded by zombies, but they're slow.  Circling the house, there's no door on the first floor, but I see a ladder going to a patio on the second floor.  How this patio is supported with no poles I have no idea.  I jump past the zombies, scale the ladder, and take a few steps to discover a door that leads inside.

It's locked.

And I can hear zombies behind it.

Crying out in frustration, I start punching the door with my hands, willing it to be something I can break down.  I move around the building, smashing windows, trying to break window frames, desperate to get inside.  I need clothes.  I need food.  I need water.  I need a place to gather my thoughts.

When I circle back around, the zombies have somehow managed to climb the ladder and are approaching the door.  I punch the first one in the face, but a nearby one swipes a claw at me.  I feel its fingers dig deep, and my blood immediately burns as I feel its infection get into my system.  Realizing I have only seconds left, I decide to spite the zombies, and instead throw myself from the patio to the ground below as a last act of defiance.

The darkness takes me.  Next time, I think to myself as my thoughts fade, I'll try to play this a bit differently.


Mr. Blue said...

Actual video game?

Erik said...

It's not a game, man. It's a new way of looking at life!

...and also a game.