Survival Gaming at its Finest: 7 Days to Die

Survival games don’t have to have zombies. But my all-time favorite one happens to. I still remember the day that a friend at work sent me the link to the 7 Days to Die Kickstarter. The game went live as an early access alpha in December 13, 2013. It was one of the biggest backings I have ever done of a Kickstarter, and I don’t regret it for a minute. The Fun Pimps are the most dedicated and consistent developers I’ve ever seen. Here’s proof. This video just came out FRIDAY. It’s nearly 2018, and look what they’re preparing for the next update:

For those of you keeping score at home, this is about 4 years post-launch. In an era where so many early access games are abandoned by their developers, these guys deserve some SERIOUS kudos.

The game is currently in Alpha 16 build, and I hadn’t played in a while. I have it for PS4 and on Steam. Since I already had the PS4 set up to stream to my YouTube, I started there. But within 10 minutes my son was asking if we could play on Steam together again, like we used to.

7 Days to Die scrap armor

I hadn’t done local game hosting since owning Windows 7, and it’s not QUITE as easy to get to the command prompt and figure out your ipv4 address as it used to be, but you can just use the search function to find cmd. Then enter ipconfig, note your ipv4 setting, and you’re good to go. The port 7D2D uses in our case is not 2500 anymore, but you’ll see this when you’re setting up the game. It’s the ipv4 that’s kind of tricky to get at. Here’s a great little tutorial on how to play 7 Days to Die on LAN.

So before I knew it we were back in survival mode. The first thing we noticed was the new settlement, with a trader NPC. That was exciting and new for us. I wondered if it might make the game too easy, but we were still grateful for it as night descended, even though we couldn’t put down a bedroll in there.

But then a voice came on a loudspeaker announcing that the trading post would be closing. Very impressive, they didn’t used to have voice-overs! We didn’t know what would happen, but were surprised to find ourselves thrown out of the place. Guess hiding behind the fantastic walls of that stronghold wasn’t going to be an option. We hastily constructed the typical base survival structure, ugly as sin, and managed to get it finished and get quiet before the shuffling feet of zombies could be heard. We survived the night.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Why do I love this game so much? After all, I have started over countless times, and generally never make it to the progress point where I’m, say, smelting bullets or riding around in the motorbike. And yet I relive the early phase scenario of the game over, and over, and over.

sunrise in 7 Days to Die Alpha 16.4
Hello stone axe, my old friend…

There’s just something about punching grass. Making stone axes, and wooden bows. Finding a broken down cabin and fixing it up, working your way up the skills and supplies ladder to the point that you establish a garden. It’s that challenge of starting with nothing, you hit the ground and the clock’s ticking to find a water source, and a shelter to hide in by nightfall.

And here we are, doing it once again. I guess part of it is that the game keeps changing. They’ve been making consistent updates and improvements for years. Now it’s vendor outposts and sleeping zombies that rise up when you don’t expect it. Before, it was a treasure map system, and a player leveling and skills system, and of course a constantly increasing assortment of buildings and locations.

7 Days to Die Skills
Skills and level progression are examples of some of the big changes this game has gone through since launch.

As I said, it’s more about the survival for me and less about the zombies, but I think this game has nailed the zombie aspect better than anyone else. They are truly capable of making me jump.

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