This is a post more about watching someone else play a game than me playing a videogame.
I bought Don’t Starve on Steam quite a while ago, it’s one of the games that I’ve technically played, but haven’t spent a lot of time on. I think I have a hard time creating my own fun and thus, I seem to always have a hard time getting into open-ish games like this. I need a central storyline to keep me going when I get tired of exploring. Think more Skyrim and less GTA.
Though, as soon as I saw Joce start playing it, it looked a lot more interesting. So now I have to take a break from The Walking Dead season 2 to write a few words about THAT whole experience.
Here’s the backstory: Don’t Starve is pretty popular. I’m not exactly HOW I know that, but I have a general sense that it’s true… and that’s really what good marketing is trying to do, yes? Anyway, Don’t Starve is releasing a free multiplayer expansion soon, and since we’re always on the lookout for co-op games to play, and since I already own a copy, Joce wanted to give it a try. SO, she played it for a few minutes on my account, liked it, and bought her own. (SEE! BEING ABLE TO TRY THINGS OUT ACTUALLY DOES LEAD TO PURCHASED YOU DIRTY COPYRIGHT BASTARDS)
But, why is it interesting to watch someone else play Don’t Starve?
That’s a good question. Part of it is that it’s easier for me to take the game in, if that makes any sense. I’m able to evaluate the game’s intricacies when I’m not occupied with the minutiae of not starving. I don’t have to spend time gathering grass, I can think about how the saving system affects gameplay, for example!
Saving is an interesting mechanic in this game: it auto-saves at as yet undetermined points, you can save but have to quit at the same time so it adds a bit of tension. And when you die, the game is over – no reloads.
It’s high stakes up in here.
It’s a simple thing, but it really does ramp up the importance. I mean, the damn game is about surviving and a lack of persistent saving makes the world a heckuva lot more dangerous. Need that bit of gold (required to build a science machine) over by that huge spider? Yeah, a science machine would be nice (and necessary to keep surviving in the long term), but how strong is that spider? Will it attack you? If it does, can you defeat it?
That’s just one thing that I’ve already spent waaaaay too much time thinking about. It’s one of the issues with retro games. No user-controlled save system makes even an “easy” game a lot harder, let alone a super difficult game like Mega Man.
Side note (and lifeprotip), if you’re like me and never had the patience for those old, meat-grinder-style games, try them in an emulator. Liberal use of ‘save state’ has made some of them more accessible to me. I’ve spent some time in Mega Man X that I never would’ve before because of it. But, more on that sometime in the future.
BTW – releasing a free multiplayer update is rad.
Plus, building a science machine is awesome.