I am not a gamer and for that reason, usually don’t post about this subject. However, this FastCo article about “DayZ” has left me wishing I had the time and skills to be a gamer.
DayZ‘s use of permadeath–meaning that players have only one life in the game and lose everything if they are killed–as well as a scarcity of survival resources, and a kill-or-be-killed relationship with other players, who often need your supplies to stay alive themselves. There are also zombies.
The DayZ section of Reddit is an endless rabbit hole of emotional accounts of playing the game. One player describes his overwhelming sense of justice after having killed and pillaged another character who shouted a racial epithet; another writes about being “emotionally scarred” after the “whirlwind of chaos, sorrow, and show of true love” that he experienced when he was mortally wounded and a friend exacted instant, furious revenge on the attacker. And about the more mundane ways the game invades the psyche, another player writes, “I spent hours [in the game] looking for a canteen or a water bottle and never found one. Today, when I went to work, someone had left an empty water bottle on the desk. It was like finding $20 on the ground. Split second of pure joy.”