"Everyone poops". The description stares me in the face as my mouse hovers over the human feces in my inventory in ARK: SURVIVAL EVOLVED. Yep mom and dad, I went to college, got a good job, got married so I could sit in my basement, gather human feces and write about it on the Internet. This all begs the question: "How evolved are we really?" Is the survival genre a godsend or just electronic gaming tedium at it's peak?
I hearken back to early 2000, a more simple time in gaming where the doomsday of Y2K had just worn off and gamers were to get their first taste of The Sims. Yes, while The Sims was way before this so-called Survival genre really hatched, I remember being enthralled, then annoyed after several hours of The Sims. Why would I want to play a game that not only reflected real life but the entire 'game' consisted of managing jobs, showering, going to the bathroom etc.
Recently, after diving into ARK and Citadel: Forged With Fire I once again thought, "Why would I want to play a game that reflects the very tedium of the human existence?!" While I just wanted to explore the island, kill dinos, and eventually craft a minigun that Ahnuld would be proud of, every five f*%$^# minutes it's "ALERT! You're hungry!" or some other annoying message, just like in real life. Look, I've changed enough diapers to fill and made enough bowls of cheap cereal to know that taking care of the tedious tasks in life is definitely not fun.
Survival: The Gathering
When ARK just couldn't leave me satisfied I thought the Harry Potter-eque Citadel: Forged With Fire might scratch this strange survival itch. Ooh! Magic and less survival/crafting crap. Nope, it's just a different type of tedium with instead of gathering human feces. I have to craft weird weapons and then assign spells to said weapons then you can only hold two types of spells, yada yada yada! Instead of constantly being hungry or thirsty all the time in this game, I get to gather 500 berries from a forest full of murderous sprites just to craft two fracking health potions. You feel my pain yet? Why is survival gaming more work than fun? I work all day, why do I want to work in my games?!
Grumpy Old Man
In the end, maybe the survival game genre is just not for me. Or maybe I'm just a grumpy old gamer. Hey, maybe it's a big mixture of both but either way, I guess I'll keep torturing myself looking for survival style game that doesn't involve thirst, hunger, stamina, collecting feces, or any such nonsense. Rather, I'm looking for a nice, relaxing gaming experience that I can just sit back, grind character unlocks and open up loot boxes. Now we're talkin'.