There are lots of survival games, but there are also lots of games which could be survival games with the right mods installed. Over the course of Survival Week we’ll highlight a few of those games and i)write a diary of our experience playing with it ii) explain how to do it yourself.
Loading my pack with the most brutal of mods, I set out into Minecraft with pure intentions: to establish a simple steading. The farmhouse shall be made of rustic sandstone. A small flower garden would be nice. And then the fields; a solid smallholding to support me and mine with fresh, free-range produce. Perhaps I’ll organise outhouses for the peasantry. The other peasantry, I mean.
My aspirations are intentionally humble. Give me a day in vanilla Minecraft and I’ll have an intensive breeding operation up and running. The true test of my malefic mod collection will be its impact on the everyday. I’m after a significant twist in the mortal coil.
I hoist the backpack, and take a last look at the home to which I’m accustomed: regenerating health, respectable neighbourhood mobs, an inexistence of tornados.
I spawn in a ferny and fertile valley. Plenty of water, plenty of resources, plenty of lava. That last one’s a curveball, but overall I’m feeling positive about this new-forged land of opportunity. Yes, I can see myself subsisting happily here.
A spruce tree tries to kill me. I’d forgotten that in addition to inflicting mortal wants EnviroMine messes with physics. By taking out the tree’s support, I invited gravity to the party. But we live and learn, just about.
The lava tries to finish what the spruce started. I’m not a noob – I didn’t take a bath in it – but molten rock doesn’t half kick out heat. Who’d have thunk it? My body temp begins to edge into the red. I sweat; my water meter weeps.
Nature is uncaring, but it’s an equal opportunities psychopath, and I respect that. I move on in time to witness the lava swallow a pair of pigs. One is consumed, the other crawls free. I put him out of his misery. Kinder, really.
Here’s something curious: it’s past time to craft tools, and there’s exposed coal across the water. I catch myself mid-plunge and waver on the bank.
“You’re a fool”, says a voice in my head.
It’s not wrong; this river is no jacuzzi. Wheeling about, I gather dirt from the bank and build a bridge. It’s a complete relearning of Minecraft’s core concepts. Already EnviroMine is forcing me to rethink my interactions with the world. I giggle audibly – this’ll show that voice. My bridge collapses. The water attempts further murder.
Hunger Overhaul and I have got to know each other. He’s not all that talkative, just the pleasantries like “Peckish” and “Starving”, but he gets me. Food has become an issue. I ate fifteen porkchops in one day, so if EnviroMine unveils a constipation bar, it’s over.
I have to establish my smallholding soon. Without a capacitous farm and breeding programme, the traditional cliffside bolthole I’ve crafted will be my grave. Not a pleasant-journey-to-the-beyond grave either. More of an arise-to-waylay-travellers-until-some-berk-gets-a-quest-for-your-head kind of grave. Turns out it’s above an abyss replete with creepy crawlies and air quality like rush hour Shanghai. Fancy footwork scores me some iron, but it’s time to climb the property ladder.
Stepping outside, I’m thrown into orbit.
The landing mutilates my health bar, and my worst fears are realised. From across the plateau crawls a Rare byebye Creeper of effing Armor [sic.]. Yes: an armoured creeper with mind powers. Thankfully, creepers gonna creep, and it leaves a smoking crater wide of the mark, but I’m down four hearts and my adrenal glands have shaken loose.
Sod the smallholding, I need nutrients! A whole blasted day spent looking for grass seeds and all I have to show for it are three wheat shoots and a food bar that’s about to take out an overdraft. Add in a festering spider bite, and I’m at half health and crawling.
Here, piggy piggy piggies…
After I inhale nine more pork chops, things start looking up. I’ve amassed some sandstone, planted some seeds, the sun is shining. Wait – was that thunder? I jerk round and spy dark clouds behind a nearby ridge.
“Go on. Do it!” says the voice again. I’ve named him Darwin.
Putting a full nelson on my better judgement, I scale the icy cliffs and survey the land beyond. Briefly. The next seconds are a blur of downhill motion in which I lose another half heart. It doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. A biblical tornado is coming for tea.
I pass through snow and rain and hail, sprinting back to base. Lightning cracks, night falls. Back in my nook, the noise is shattering, and scary in a very real way. Wind moans and howls and shakes my surroundings. Stealing back to the door, I glance out at where the world used to be. The vortex is on top of me. Right now, my infested mines seem a paradise. I dive through the opening and intend to wait it out.
The Long Dark
Hah, “wait it out”. My earlier unkosher feast left me snackless, and like a newborn I require feeding again. I have to brave the storm.
Three shanks remain on the food bar.
By divine grace, the tornado has passed over, but the storm is still in force. I skirt the lava I encountered on Day 1. That seems so long ago now. It brings me some comfort in the dark.
Two shanks left.
Creepers are gathering behind the treeline. If there’s food that way, it’s not destined for my plate. I’m moving slowly now, each step a marathon. “Starving”, Hunger Overhaul tells me. He always has the right of it.
Red dawn leaps across the ocean, fire beneath coal-black clouds. This beach I’ve found, it’s not the bad sort of place to die.
I’m at peace with the idea.
Fuck peace, that pig is mine. At one shank you’re damn near paralytic; I’m rolling forwards like a drunk cyclist through tar. I can count the metres between me and those lifegiving pink pixels: seven, then six, then five, as is tradition. I can taste it!
Red eyes flare in the shadows. Babe and I aren’t alone, and my thoughts are of those home comforts I so callously discarded.
You can read more Survival Week articles over here.