Have you ever heard of the game ARMA II? Probably not, don’t feel bad though it is a very niche PC FPS that is at this point 3 years old. The game has been fairly unknown for a while, content living in its own corner of the world. However recently ARMA II soared to the top of the Steam top seller list. A game no one has heard of, that few people play, now sits as the top selling game on all of Steam. It sits over Skyrim, Max Payne, Call of Duty, and everything else. There was no update for the game, no sudden marketing push, it just blew up overnight.
But why you might ask?
A small team has put out a mod for Arma II, called Day Z this mod is 100% responsible for the games recent rise to the top and is a game many are calling one of the most innovative things to hit PC this year.
Day Z is a survival zombie game, it places you on a giant island with a few basic supplies and your only objective is to survive. You have to eat, drink, and survive. The twist is that zombies are not your biggest threat, the biggest danger is other players. Once you die in Day Z that is it your character is dead and you have to start again from scratch. There is no respawn, once your dead you are out. As a result players can team up and kill other players, become bandits, or try to work together. This principal is what I like to call licence to be a jerk, and its the same mechanic that makes Eve Online one of the most interesting games in existence. Of course killing people is not simply done for its own enjoyment, you want their supplies. Since supplies are scarce in the game players can be the easiest way to get a stockpile.
This is a unique situation where you are allowing players true freedom. You could help other players survive only to be stabbed in the back. You could be a lone wolf or lead a small town. It is all up to you and how you want to play.
Sadly I have been unable to check out the Day Z mod because ARMA II the game the mod runs on costs $30 on steam and I have my eyes set firmly on Max Payne at the moment. However should this game go on sale I will be sure to scoop it up and post my impressions.