I love discs. My first Spectrum, the awesome behemoth that was the +3, came with a disk drive, allowing me to enjoy the delights of a 3D wireframe tennis game. Then came the 5.25 floppies and the 3.5 ones in my first PC, a glorious 16 MHz 286. Floppy disks, compact discs, DVDs and now even Blu-ray, all of them great. But there's one disc that I hate and that's the one in my back that slipped last week.
Ow, ow and ow again. In 2009 one of them prolapsed, leaving me paralysed for over a month (I've still got the crutches). Last week, something random occurred and my whole body was wracked with pain for days on end. Now it's a mere dull throb, contained by medication that makes me sleepy and wanting to nod off at inconvenient times.
In gaming terms, what that means is that I was unable to provide you with your weekly fix of freebies. Sorry about that, but I've got a little bottle full of Diazepam in lieu of a doctor's note, in case you don't believe me. But fear not, this week you can feast on a fabulous array of the weird, wacky and sometimes wonderful denizens of the independent gaming scene in the usual way.
We're going to concentrate exclusively on one game this week, as it's a doozy. Die2nite is that game, a browser-based text-ish adventure where you have to survive against a collection of ghouls, revenants and liches. Or zombies, if you like.
Once you've signed up, you can select from one of four different professions, a Resident, a Scavenger, a Scout or a Guardian. The Resident has no outstanding abilities, while the Scavenger is adept at finding and scouring for objects. The Scout can access areas inaccessible to others by being able to sneak by the undead using stealth. Lastly, the Guardian just kicks ass, basically.
However, you can only pick the Resident initially, unless you activate 'Hero Mode' which is a premium mode that you have to pay for. So let's ignore those for now and concentrate on our 'free' remit.
You'll be playing with other players all the time, a log of whose activities you can view at any time. It's a long term game, as when I first joined there wasn't much to do. In fact, at first I couldn't see anything I could do, other than view an empty newspaper for my locale, the lovingly named Unsightly Hamlet. Would you live there?
Once you find the main page (click the top left of the page) you can see the locations available in the town. Your house contains a few introductory items to get you started, though a broken Radio Cassette Player without a battery and some Rancid Jaffa Cakes don't necessarily seem to be of too much help.
There's also the Well, the Bank, the Citizens, Construction Sites and the Town Gates. Citizens is somewhere you can interact with other players, while the Bank is where you deal with your rucksack. Contruction Sites is where important new buildings can be constructed by every human player working together and donating items. There's even a forum to discuss the direction players want the town to develop in, all to help protect the town from undead attack.
The Well is where players draw their daily water ration, which is of course vital in a desert town. Water restores your action points for the day, so if you want to do anything, the Well needs to be a constant port of call. However, there's a limited amount of water, unless the town builds a pump. Which would of course mean not building another vital structure.
Every midnight, there's an attack by the undead. The Town Gates need to be closed before then or the Horde will take its merciless revenge on the inhabitants. Players can leave the town, but if someone closes the door behind them, they are then unable to re-enter. If you were a complete bastard, you could close it for a laugh and attempt to trap people outside, but it probably won't work. And people will see in the log it was you who closed it and might not take kindly to it.
If you decide to go out, you need to remember to not get yourself stranded out in the wilderness, so always leave yourself enough action points (you have 6 by default and can refresh yourself using the water ration) to get back. The reason for going outside is to scavenge for items which can then be used to make the town stronger. For example, on my first forage I found a broken hacksaw. Might be useful, when fixed, to construct buildings.
There's so much depth here, even if at first it looks like not being much cop. Working together with others, playing at your own pace, feeling important to a cause but without being the sole hero, it's all there. It's not pulse-raisingly exciting, but like play-by-mail games, it has a compelling edge that'll keep you checking back every single day. I've only just started and some bastard has locked me out of the town. My broken hacksaw isn't going to keep the zombies away. If you stop by, why not help a brother out?
Next week we'll be back to normal with five of the weirdest titles out there for your delectation. I just felt Die2nite deserved a special mention this time out. Until next time, friends.