Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Survive The Road: A Lesson On The Journey

Time was when I would regularly go to the cinema. Once a fortnight, on a Monday during the 11th hour of the day, right after ... sigh, after signing on for Job Seeker's Allowance. I'd have the screen to myself, every week. Just perfect as far as I'm concerned. And The Road is exactly the kind of film I'd go to see - boring TV advert not-with-standing. But I've not gone to see it. Never read the book. Might do one of them though after playing Survive the Road.

Yeah, I know, seduced by advertising, right?

Survive is a text-heavy flash strategy game set in a post-'Disaster' United States. You direct the path of the man and the boy (or is that the Man and the Boy? hmm) as they travel across many many miles of roads and country heading for the coast. The emphasis is on merely, suitably enough, surviving. As time goes by, energy and food levels slowly go down. You have the option of resting to recover energy at the price of greater food consumption or running to move faster at the expense of greater levels of energy. The player must balance speed with these resources.

At random intervals a dialogue appears - the player spots a house worth investigating, someone steps onto the road, something grabs their attention - and they are given options of how to respond to the situation. The results are usually safe, often catastrophic. Sometimes there is just no fool-proof way out of a situation and you get injured or die. Alternatively you might discover something of use, be it food or protective clothing to improve your energy or maybe a melee weapon. Don't risk anything though and you'll run out of food.

To play Survive you first have to quickly register a username and password. Strangely, you have to enter it (or at least hit 'login' again) every time you replay the game even if you don't leave the screen. As with other tie-in flash-games like 221B and... others almost certainly exist out there that I can't think of right now you can  you have the option of reporting your success or more aptly interesting failures to your Twitter or Facebook account.

The furthest I reached was a little over 100 days and 1000 miles. Looking at the score board, it appears that no one has actually survived all the way to the coast making Survive The Road a greater statement on futility than Home or The Graveyard. (Read Emily Short's fascinating examination of the two and their shared theme here). I wonder: how will your journey end? How far will you travel? Will you choose your end or let it come to you?

Leave a comment. :)

1 comment:

  1. This little game is simple but quite addictive, because you always want to know if you will go further or encounter different event each time... I tried it something like four times, but I have only succeed to reach around 850 miles in 91 days. Not so great score !