Welcome To Survival Week!

Welcome to Survival Week! Over the course of the next five days we’re going to be celebrating videogames which make our stomachs rumble, cause our toes to fall off from frostbite, and abandon us to bleed out on some forsaken hillside. Survival games, we call ’em – and we love not dying.

This post mainly exists to alert you to what’s happening. We’ve got a full week of features – diaries and guides, interviews and arguments, then even more diaries – and some will be going up later today. They can be recognised by the dapper person with the fish at the bottom of the header image.

We will of course still be writing news, features and Wot I Thinks about all manner of other games, so hopefully we’ll continue to offer something to those of you who don’t enjoy survival. You’ll know already how this works if you’re a long-term reader, because you’ll remember Space Week, that exciting period in 2011 when Rock, Paper, Shotgun forged its way into outerspace, colonised the galaxy, and saved humanity from a long, lonely demise upon but a single blue planet called Earth.

Who knows what Survival Week could do.

This post will be updated as the week goes on with links to each of our posts, so feel free to bookmark it and hang out in the comments below. Alternatively there’s the Survival Week tag page.

Here are the Survival Week posts published so far, updated each day.

Survival Games Are Important
Surviving Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure
The Clothes Off His Back: Neo Scavenger Diary #1
How To Make STALKER: Call of Pripyat A Survival Game
Have You Played… UnReal World?

Supporter-only post: Surviving With The Sims


DoomZ: Alpha Impressions
Rules For Survival Games: Do & Don’t #9
Field Notes: How Devs Recreate Wilderness In Games
Eidolon Diary: Diarising Eidolon
Have You Played… State Of Decay?

Supporter-only post: Our Treacherous Bodies


  1. Meat Circus says:

    Dying horribly of starvation/having my face bitten of week, more like.

    I wonder what the recent surfeit of survival games tells us about our favourite hobby? I think it’s that, despite what the AAA publishers think, deep down we all want to suffer at the hands of game systems unless and until we achieve mastery.

    We don’t want games to be actively malicious towards us. But when a game shows a callous disregard for our wellbeing, when it could clearly give zero fucks one way or another whether we live or die, that’s when we fall in love.

    • slerbal says:

      I don’t think it is entirely about suffering, though a good challenge is certainly great. For many of the games much of the enjoyment is in building something yourself, crafting a new house/defensive facility/castle what ever. Pitting yourself against an untamed world and taming it, or at least carving out a small niche to make your own.

      Certainly that is not true of all survival games, after all DayZ doesn’t have any significant building/crafting elements that allow you to reshape your environment, but for me it is the strongest attraction. But only because I know those constructions will be tested – it gives them a purpose beyond just the aesthetic.

      • dylnuge says:

        I agree. I also think survival game systems (crafting+building or none) are more suited to the “suffering” than other game systems. I shudder to think of how players would react to permadeath after missing a QTE in a game like Tomb Raider.

        Survival games aren’t usually about their story so much as letting you tell yours. There’s often a lot of hidden content to find and begin piecing together what’s happened, but in my opinion a lot of the fun comes from the fact that this is optional, and you get to take your own path in the game’s world.

    • Morte66 says:

      “I wonder what the recent surfeit of survival games tells us about our favourite hobby?”

      That the herd instinct is strong at all levels of game development.

      Zombies, survival, zombie survival…

    • klops says:

      For me the survival games boom is about riding the wave, not about game difficulty. The harder difficulty comes with the fact that they are not restricted by AAA companies’ restrictions, as many (most?) other other indie or small company games. I’d say most platformers are hard too because nowadays most of them are not being made in the AAA industry. And yes, there are exceptions like Dark Souls.

      We all want to suffer in the hands of game system is as much true as we all want to enjoy good films instead of Michael Bay movies or read good books instead of Dan Brown. Unfortunately most of us like pre-chewed poop.

    • h_ashman says:

      For me the 0 fucks given part of it is what makes dying in those games repeatedly still feel fair. It makes me feel like it’s my fault for not knowing those berries are poisonous, or the water isn’t safe to drink. Even randomly getting eaten by a wolf seems fair somehow, if I’d checked behind me or was armed I’d be alive.

      The game doesn’t care if you’ve played for 5 minutes or 5 days, if you make a mistake it will kill you for it. Or worse, injure you and then leave you to crawl away and die a yard from safety and your medical cache.

      In fact playing Rust I ran back to my house whilst being chased by a bear, only to find someone had smashed my door off and replaced it with theirs, leaving me to get mauled to death by a bear as I tried to work out why I was locked out of my own house.

  2. RedViv says:

    I’m looking forward to this week, then oh I’m being eaten by a wolf

  3. rustybroomhandle says:

    Do we get to vote people off the island?

  4. Shieldmaiden says:

    Is Survival Week going to die horribly and have to restart several times per day? And will there be dysentery?

    • Tom Walker says:

      I absolutely do not remember Space Week. And yet I do remember enjoying that Sins verdict. In conclusion, you have made it up to convince me my mind is failing. I will destroy you yet, villainous web gremlins.

      • Tom Walker says:

        That wasn’t supposed to be a reply to another comment. I take this as further evidence.

  5. Kefren says:

    I will craft you some items … and MY AXE!

  6. J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    So it’s an Early Access thing?

    (This is great, despite my general dislike of most survival games, and I can’t wait to dig into the various pieces)

    • bills6693 says:

      The test is, can you survive early access? And come out the other side with a selection of good games made possible through early funding and guided by consumers?

      My rigorous, objective mathematical modelling indicates the probability to be between 0.4% and 6.3%

  7. Tim James says:

    In a real disaster, remember what survival games have taught us: the first thing you need to do is set up a smelter.

  8. trn says:

    Though I once bought Don’t Starve in a Steam sale and spent some time with it, I’ve never really been able to get into the whole ‘survival’ thing. Mind you, I have always struggled to get into games without clearly defined objectives. I even got bored with GTAV once I’d done the main missions. (I am a philistine, I know).

    I’m looking forward to finding out about how these games encourage players to develop their own personal objectives and reading about why it is that so many others enjoy games I just don’t get.

  9. Gap Gen says:

    OK, throw down time. I’m going to try not to die this whole week. Who’s with me?

    • Premium User Badge

      Bluerps says:

      I don’t know, that sounds hard. What if there is a wolf?

      • Gap Gen says:

        Could be a friendly wolf. Worth checking it out just in case.

        • Premium User Badge

          Bluerps says:

          Ok, I did that. It might be friendly, I’m not sure yet – it’s eating my leg at the moment, but maybe that’s just playfulness. In any case I’ll keep you updated how that suvival thing is going!

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      I try not to die most weeks. Been working out pretty well so far…

    • Vandelay says:

      I’ll see your week and raise you a fortnight!

  10. slerbal says:

    Excellent stuff!

  11. Monggerel says:

    I prefer dying games.

  12. Canadave says:

    To celebrate, I will be making all my comments this week from a dimly lit dirt cave I’ve dug myself under a hill.

    • Gap Gen says:

      For an extra challenge, use only items constructed from human limbs.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      Then you shall henceforth be known as Mr Underhill, all other similarities to a certain hobbit are completely unintentional.

  13. Skit says:

    Finally RPS has found a way to participate in the popular “toplist” cesspit portion of the internets editorial… Ah cant finish the sentence you get the point. Kudos!

  14. Hex says:

    Ooh ooh do Don’t Starve!

  15. Darth Gangrel says:

    “we love not dying” What a strange coincidence, I also love not dying.

  16. raiders5000 says:

    7 Days to Die & Don’t Starve for barely over $20 last week. Needless to say…I’m good.
    Enjoying the heck out of both.
    That is, until FRIDAY!!!!!!!

  17. Spacewalk says:

    So when is walking week or is that every week?

    • Lobster9 says:

      I think they are going to combine walking week with space simulation week!

  18. zentropy says:

    And just when I thought I couldn’t love RPS more… :)