State of Decay was released this past Friday through Steam Early Access, meaning that there are still some bugs and other issues being worked out. As a result, writing an official review of the PC version wouldn’t be appropriate. Please keep that in mind as while I had very few issues running the game, my experience may or may not be the exception.
Since I was young, I’ve been absolutely obsessed with zombies (and have written about it on numerous occasions). While the idea of the dead rising from their graves and tracking down the living is always an entertaining premise, what’s attracted me to stories that involve zombies has always been the concept of ordinary people struggling to survive in a world gone mad. While the prospect of slaughtering waves of the undead and becoming a hero sounds cool, I was always more curious about the behind-the-scenes action, like how to find the perfect shelter and the best ways to maintain a food supply in the long term. Perhaps being the organizational manager for the apocalypse sounds a bit lame, but it’s actually something I think I’d be good at. This is precisely the reason I just couldn’t put down State of Decay this past weekend.
Let’s Get Organized!
While fighting zombies with a slew of different weapons was fun, I couldn’t help but obsess over the well being of my ever growing batch of survivors. Did they have enough food, weapons and medicine? Were they happy? I felt like a mom looking after her kids, willing to sacrifice her sanity by doing the same menial chores over and over again to ensure that her brood carried forth. Fortunately for me, there is something in my brain that enjoys such tasks, at least in regards to playing video games. It was as if I couldn’t go to bed until I knew that my digital community was safe, sound and tucked in properly for the night. This led to “just one more” supply run, which led to clearing an infestation, then saving a lost ally and before I knew it two more hours had passed.
Let’s not even get into the fact that both the story and the characters went above and beyond what a survival simulator actually has to offer. It’d be one thing if all I was doing was going through the motions, but State of Decay has a lot more going on than I could have ever imagined. Getting to know survivors while also trying to figure out why the zombies showed up in the first place made other activities seem unimportant.
Being that I’m currently a member of a two person/two cat squad that’s not struggling to survive a zombie invasion, having such a concentrated focus on the well being of digital characters can be counter productive, especially when it comes to bedtime. I’ve spent the last few nights trying to explain to my wife why it was important for me to stay up a bit longer, knowing very well what “a bit longer” actually meant. On Friday “a bit longer” meant 12:00 AM but by Monday it crept all the way to 2:00. It’s funny how one rationalizes spending time.
It’s been quite some time since a game has made opting out of a good night’s sleep seem reasonable. It’s definitely a testament to State of Decay, but may also be either a good or bad sign for me. On the one hand, zombies aren’t going to attack anytime soon and my time may be better spent resting and preparing for the future, as in the real world future. On the other, maybe I am well equipped for a zombie disaster despite not having a ton of useful skills to offer outside of organizational leadership.
Just 5 More Minutes – Anecdotes and memories of when we didn’t want to put a specific game down.