Aaargh! Fuck you, night!

When lovable feral scamp Rebecca “Newt” Jorden warned that ‘they mostly come at night, mostly.’ she wasn’t simply referring to larger nighttime patrols of xenomorphs skittering about the surface of LV-426, but all manner of nocturnal terrors that haunt the modern survival and/or horror game that we should all be wary of. You know the kinds of things: Dying Light’s fast moving zombies, Creepers and Skeletons multiplying in Minecraft, in fact mutants and demons of all denominations appearing as if by magic in pretty much any game you might care to mention that has a day/night cycle. 

Quite apart from all the creatures it regularly summons, night is often the point in a game when everything escalates, often just to piss you off. The shadows lengthen, the light dims, resources are suddenly scarce and spawn points light up like a demonic Christmas tree – not literally of course, that would make them far too easy to deal with  – instead, out there will lurk dozens if not hundreds of slavering unseen beasties, eager to lay waste to your encampment and slaughter everyone in it.

It’s not just game designers that see night as license to put players through a temporary iron man mode, other players will also take advantage of the situation. In fact, to return to Aliens once again, it’s human players that will always fuck you over before the game does, as anyone who’s played DayZ, Rust or any of their countless derivatives will attest. Sure, there’s fun to be had at night, and if you’re careful it’s far easier to remain undetected that during daylight hours, but night is always when the assholes go on patrol and they often won’t turn in until they’ve ruined someone’s evening. Do yourself a favour: When night calls, don’t answer.

Richie Shoemaker

Richie has been writing about games since 1997, spending five years on the staff of PC Zone and more recently writing for Eurogamer. His greatest claim to fame is that Sid Meier once gave him a lift to the pub.

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