Steamlog 01: 7 Days to Die

Backlogs. Most of us have them, some of us even call them "piles of shame". I can't say that I really regret most of my purchases, even if the motivation behind them isn't always readily apparent to the casual observer. Still, recognising that I might never get around to all of the titles without some sort of impetus to do so, I decided to chronicle the adventures of going through my Steam library. However, I'll only post a log update if I can find something worthwhile to say about any given game.

"The Rules" (More what you'd call "guidelines")

  • Ignore games in my "Favorites" list, they're there for a reason.
  • Install games one at a time and play until satisfied.
  • Games with significant updates or altering DLC may be revisited.
  • These are not reviews, just my impressions.

Title: 7 Days to Die

I've got a vague penchant for the survival genre that I think stems from enjoying so much dystopian fiction—but Luke Plunkett said it rightly when he pointed out that, "Normally they have zombies. And asshole other players. And you end up spending most of your time battling these, and it gets a little rough, and that's not really what I signed up for." This particular title has never seemed to get the attention that Rust and DayZ do, but Leo did a video, and it looked fun enough. When the title finally came up in a Steam sale, I decided to take the plunge.

My first spawn is literally in the middle of a road, although there's no chance of being run down, here! As I walk along, I find some newspapers. "NUCLEAR", one begins, but the page is torn in half. "FLU EPIDEMIC", another one screams. Wonder which one came first? While I'm reading, I'm attacked—which when you think about it, makes perfect sense. I'm unarmed as yet, so feebly fight the zombie off, run and hide. I see a dog, and somehow it never occurs to me that I should mistrust it. My mistake is quickly made apparent as it attacks. Shades of early Wolfenstein on my Macintosh Performa come rushing back to me; it's trying to kill me and I feel guilty for trying to stop it, because I don't want to beat on a dog, zombie or otherwise. Only feel but so bad when it succeeds; after all, this is a game, and respawning is a thing. Possibly not a conducive attitude in a survival game?

Respawning does benefit me, though. This time I'm dropped in a place with multiple cars about, and am quickly able to find basic supplies, even a weapon! The cacti that are vaguely humanoid nearly do my head in, I keep starting as I see them out of the corner of my eye. Ultimately, though, it's over-confidence that gets me killed. I might be able to fight off a lone zombie, but I'm still no match for a mob.

Several deaths and respawns later, and I'm starting to get the hang of things. I actually survive until nightfall, and am graced with a lovely full moon. Then I turn, and see the shadow of a zombie down below. Right! Reality check, we've been down this road before.

Steamlog 01: 7 Days to Die

I skirt along the edge of the green, crouched low to avoid the attention of the zombies. Somehow miss the crawler though, and pretty much walk up on it in the dark. I kill it with minimal damage to myself, and head towards what looks like a camp of some sort. There's a good chance that I can find supplies there—so of course, I also find zombies. I'm now faced with a choice; risk sneaking among them to get what I need? I don't think I can fight my way through. Or do I just keep going, and hope I find supplies someplace else? In the end I rely on night and cover, backing myself into a shed. I'm fortunate that the entire group never senses me at once, and I'm able to pick them off one at a time as they come through the door. Once they're all dead, I raid the camp and find much-needed food and water.

These are the kinds of choices you face in 7 Days to Die. The game is about risk management as much as it is survival. I don't know that it's fun in the traditional sense (for me), but it certainly is compelling! The further I got, the more I wanted to click "Continue Game". Sometimes even a particularly bad run would have that effect, because I knew I could do better.

Allow me to leave you with my most impressionable moment in the game. I've managed to survive 5 days this time, and have plenty of supplies. I'd entered a National Park earlier in the evening, and am now holed up on the second floor of one of the cabins in the rest area.

Steamlog 01: 7 Days to Die

All through the night, zombies shuffle in and out below me, sometimes sensing me, sometimes hunting me. Due to their low intelligence, only so many of them ever make it to the top of the stairs, where I calmly dispatch them with a blast of my shotgun. But as the sun rises, I know that this can't go on forever. Soon I'll need to decide how long to wait before running again. There is no winning, there is only how long it takes to die.