As I have reported before, I am writing a few gaming blogs about my adventures playing video games for Iron Man Mode. For those of you who are new to my blog* (from recent events bringing you here), I wanted to just say that Iron Man Mode is playing a video game at the hardest level until you die, and then your blog stops. It’s all for charity – we make no money doing this thing. We easily met our $500 goal in four months, and are now shooting for the $1000 goal before December. We’re more than halfway there, so if you want to give us a small boost, we’ll be more than happy to blather on about you and show you our appreciation.
Recently, I’ve been focusing on playing City of Heroes, but I think I’m about to take the death there and have to move on. I’ve been scrounging around for other games to play, and I think once Wasteland 2 is more of a concrete thing with a concrete date, I’ll play the original Wasteland on Iron Man Mode. But what to do in the meantime? It wasn’t long before a friend of mine bugged me enough to get my attention on IM and tell me about Project Zomboid.
The game itself intrigues me, mostly because it’s a WIP (work-in-progress) Indie game that has a lot of potential. If you look at all the versions since their initial release (1.5), you’ll see the map gets bigger and the environments get more complex. For instance, you can turn interior lights on and off in newer versions, and at a random date a week or so later, the power goes off. So now your fridges and lights don’t work anymore, forcing you to rely on batteries, flashlights and canned food. Doing noisy things brings tons of zombies – so you need to rely less on shotguns and more on baseball bats to kill stragglers. NPCs can help you or hinder you, depending on their randomly determined stats.
It’s an awesome Iron Man Mode game. Here’s the part of the game’s description that describes why it’s the best IMM game ever:
Well the surviving for years isn’t really what this game is about. Here we’re telling the story of your death, not your triumphant survival against all odds.
The game starts with you within the confines of a quarantined city. The outside world still oblivious to the truth of what is happening, but this will change. Once they are hit by the apocalypse, those other people will be much more able to deal with the zombie threat. With time to prepare for the situation, or to flee for the frozen tundra where the Zomboids would merely freeze. They may survive. But you are inside the confines of a quarantine, squeezed in with a million zombies, and there’s no getting out. You’re fucked, if you pardon the language.
Like Dwarf Fortress, the community of which has a motto which is ‘It’s fun to lose’, what we’re offering here isn’t a game where your characters goal is to save the world, find a cure or flee to the promised land.
The goal here is purely to have the most unique and remarkable adventure leading up to your eventual and inevitable demise. One that you can tell your PZ playing mates about, or could chronicle in a blog diary, or record on youtube, or draw a web comic of. A unique and deep story of your final experiences that others will find engaging and enjoy hearing or reading about. So you’re destined to die. Pessimistic and bleak? Perhaps, but what we’re looking to accomplish here is to strip the formal ‘main quest chasing’ mentality of playing the game.
And there’s no save game feature. You start and play until you die (you can pause, so maybe you’ll leave it paused overnight or something), or until you quit because you can’t sit there anymore. Dont’ worry – you’re more likely to die, because the game is really out to kill you dead. And there’s so many ways to DIE in this game (zombies, fire, falling, starving, going nuts, etc).
The only downside to this is that while version 1.5 (which is available on the site) runs instantly on whatever machine you are using, if you decide to download and use the later versions (2.0-RC1 is awesomely complex, but you need to find it on the forum), you need to perform Java gymnastics to get it to work. First of all, it uses the 32 bit Java 7 update. For those of you not using Windows 7 (like me), you have to alter all sorts of files (such as getting rid of the x86 in the Java access command). And then – depending on your memory type and size, you need to tweek the rmr/xmx values in the .bat files. Which is a tweak and try type deal. Once you get it working though … yeah, you turn into a zombie just playing the damn game for hours.
So as soon as Zeke decides we need to start another round of something (probably as soon as my Star Trek Online sessions end), you’ll see my Zomboid run-through pop up. As an added bonus, I’m not only going to play the game ONCE, but TWICE. Once in version 1.5, and once in 2.0 R. This way, you can see my characters die twice, and hopefully in different ways both times. The map is HUGE in 2.0 R versions, which will lend for more exploration and room to dodge zombies.
So keep an eye on Iron Man Mode.com. I’ll be running for my life.