A Dark Room

This is an obscure one, but part of the reason I wanted to babble in a blog is to point out the obscure gems I trip over from time to time.  It’s a browser game called A Dark Room.

There are no fancy graphics here.  This is text, and on a good day some ASCII symbols.  You start out in a dark room (as perhaps you gathered, from the title) and your only real option is to start a fire and keep it going by clicking every so often.  After a bit you can go outside and start gathering wood to stoke it some more.  Every time you click it counts down, so impatient people probably roll their eyes and quit here, but the fun is just starting.  Soon a bedraggled traveller stumbles in and offers to start making traps and buildings for you.  Eventually you will have a whole village built up, with up to 80 people hanging out.  All the resource gathering is a bit slow in the beginning, but once you attract some people they’ll be doing the work for you.

Which frees you up to go explore the countryside.  At this point the game becomes something like a roguelike… there’s an ascii map and you have to watch your resources, making pit stops so that you don’t pass out.  “Dying” results in waking up in camp sans all the equipment you took, so it’s a setback but not the end of the game.  It’s more devastating when you find a haul of awesome goodies and then don’t make it back to camp.  Your exploration progress is not saved if you ‘die’, so a retreat back to camp to ‘save’ is often a prudent option.  You run around, clearing out nests of bandits who are holed up in abandoned towns, go spelunking in some caves, and explore old mining sites.

Then you find the spaceship…

I really enjoyed messing around with the game for a day or so, just leaving it running when I had to leave and coming back to find 35000 wood lying around in my stores because wolves killed all my people and then a bunch more migrated in to replace them and were set to the default wood gathering.  Good times.  It’s too bad I couldn’t make an account and log in from other locations, but the game isn’t really deep enough for a feature like that.

Probably my only complaint about this little time-waster is that I “won” (I think??), and there was no fanfare.  It just faded out and there I was, back in the dark room, stoking a fire and waiting for the builder to wander in.  All my progress erased, nothing to show for it, not even a blurb telling me if I actually did win or if I fucked up, or maybe this is New Game + and I should have kept going to see what was new?

I know nothing about this game.  I don’t know if it’s still being developed, I don’t know if it’s been sitting here for 20 years and I just found it now, I don’t know anything about its past or future.  I DO know it’s an interesting waste of a day or two, though, and you should probably check it out.


About tagracat
I am not a professional, I don't get paid to review shit, I am just opinionated and I seem to have some sort of disorder that results in spewing my opinions onto the internet. I enjoy writing long-winded posts about things and sometimes I like to pretend people want to read them, so a blog seemed an appropriate place to stuff it. But mostly I just like writing about things.

3 Responses to A Dark Room

  1. Thanks for the review. I’m glad you liked the journey. The fanfare at the end is what you walk away with. The imagery of a world you created in your mind. May the fire burn brightly for you.

  2. omg, what a fun time waster gamer, thanks~!

  3. I just found another similar game called Candy Box, or Candy Box 2.


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