Explore a wasteland made of words in ‘A Dark Room’

Don’t be a hero.

This was the first thought that crossed my mind as I discovered my first rifle after having taken down some scavengers. Supplies are short out here, and life, well…life is cheap. And after making it back to my village, I had to weigh the decision heavily. Would I take my new weapon out into the scorched world with me, where I might get murdered and therefore lose it forever? Or should I spend supplies developing bullets to fend off the scavengers and twisted beasts that roam this land?

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The more supplies you gather, the more you can build.

This is the harsh world of A Dark Room, a free browser-based game developed by Michael Townsend and Amir Rajan at Doublespeak Games. The first thing you should note about A Dark Room is that it’s kind of a throwback to the 1980s. I don’t mean pixel graphics, I mean no graphics at all. This is a text based game that uses supply management as its core mechanic. You need to gather wood and from wood you can build almost anything you need, but first…a fire. And all of your actions and supplies are dictated through words. It’s kind of the anti-Minecraft. This might sound a bit…nerdy even by our standards, but the game is truly addictive, allowing you to create an entire village though just the use of text.

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Before heading into the wasteland beyond, you must arm and supply yourself.

These words also paint a mysterious picture of not just the village you’ve created and now inhabit, but also the strange wasteland beyond. Something has happened to this world to make it the way it is. That is the other main selling point to this game, the mystery. For the most part the in-game descriptions are just vague enough to be menacing. Reading things like “Some of the traps have been torn apart. Large prints lead away into the forest.” Occasionally your traps will catch only teeth and scales. What is really going on here? What are these creatures raiding our village? Who are these scavengers?

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The ever expanding map of the world beyond your village. The more explore, the more you can see.

To find out, you’ll have to venture into the world which is the only thing in the game that resembles something physical. The map is represented by text characters, and you’ll soon find yourself picking up clues and supplies the further you venture into the world. But you’ll also find…other things, Lovecraftian things, so it’s best to go well armed. If you die in the wasteland, you lose your supplies and whatever progress you’ve made on the map, so caution is best.

What are you waiting for? Build your first fire and follow the trail of breadcrumbs for yourself. But please remember, don’t be a hero.

Visit the game site HERE.

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About author

Robert Walker
Robert Walker 152 posts

Rob Walker is a writer and filmmaker in Colorado, and is creator of the comedy web series Victorian Cut-out Theatre. He loves horror films and comic books (American Vampire, Jonah Hex, The Flash, Planetary). Rob has been a Sherlockian since the age of ten, is a Dark Tower junky and believes that Indiana Jones is the greatest cinematic hero ever created. You can follow him on twitter at: @timidwerewolf and see his other writings and videos at robwalkerfilms.com