Why Do We Love Survival Games So Much?
Despite the comfort of our homes, comfortable beds, plenty of food in the cupboards, and on-demand heating, people seem to love the idea of survival. Of course, this is not necessarily true in real life. Instead, humans use movies, TV shows, and video games as an escape to watch others survive in a variety of hostile environments, whether nuclear fallout, alien invasions, or a zombie apocalypse. Heck, even the CDC has a page on Zombie Preparedness, just in case.
But why do we love survival media so much? There’s a certain safety of watching a rag-tag group overcome the odds on TV, but what about video games? From Fallout to The Last of Us, and in many ways even Breath of the Wild, with its quiet yet commonly desolate landscapes, we are drawn to survival games. So why is that?
Terrifying But Safe
In years gone by, video games were considered a waste of time. But as the technology evolved and the graphics and gameplay became more realistic and immersive, seeing video games as an experience has become a popular opinion.
Survival games offer something uniquely terrifying, and most people who play such games will never be confronted with such experiences. The survival game allows them to test themselves in these scenarios while remaining safe. Even if you are bitten, shot down, or evaporated with a blast, you can always select Continue and try again.
Many people have the opinion that other people are useless. They are bad; they are only out for themselves, and forget anybody else. But, many survival games, such as Icarus or Green Hell offer the chance to collaborate with others. Even DayZ allows that, although whether you opt for this approach is up to you.
And these cooperative opportunities allow you to work with others, whether friends with who you have planned hypothetical survival scenarios before or strangers, which might provide a more authentic experience than anything else. As long as no one stabs anyone in the back, this helps you find the good in anyone.
… Or Proving Yourself
However, not everyone is concerned with rebuilding a society that they share. They’d prefer to be the Overlord. Survival games can provide the chance to prove yourself, even if the only person you want to show off to is, well, yourself.
Consider being dropped in an unfamiliar environment. At first, you panic, but you soon learn how to adapt and make the environment work for you. This is a useful way to increase your level in Icarus if you’re tired of being attacked by wolves. Going it alone shows you that you could do it. You could survive if you woke up one day in a ruined world, and that makes you feel good. And feeling good is what video games are all about, isn’t it?
Hopefully, humanity never faces a situation where they are forced to survive harsh and dangerous environments. But just because you want to avoid this real-life scenario doesn’t mean you aren’t eagerly awaiting the next survival game release. While some do it better than others, there will always be a place for these games that tap into one of humanity’s most primal urges.