I Died One Night, After I Stole A Bandage

I Died One Night, After I Stole A Bandage

It’s a browser-based game that has taken France by storm. Playing as a member of a randomised town, you don’t know when you’ll die, but you know that you will die. Will it be tonight? Tomorrow? Will you make it to the elusive four-day mark? No one knows, but we’re ready to find out.

In 2008, independent game studio Motion Twin released a primarily text-based zombie survival game named Hordes. It received more than 270,000 registrations in its first month of BETA and, three years later, still has more than 20,000 daily players. Not bad for a small development studio based in the French city of Bordeaux, a place better known for its wine than game development. Long reserved for the French-speaking crowd, the English version of the game, Die2Nite, launched last year and, just last month, a third season was launched.

To mark the launch of season three, I’ve decided to share a play-diary I kept when I first played it in 2010. It was originally published in PC PowerPlay and I have republished it here with the expressed permission of the magazine.

I went into the game thinking that it would be a shallow experience because of the lack of art, animation and game elements. As the diary below will show, I was wrong.

—– In Die2Nite, you’re thrown into a town where you must work with other players to increase the defenses of your town in preparation for each evening’s zombie attack, which takes place at midnight in your local time zone. I jumped into the game, rucksack in hand, to see how long I’d last.

DAY 1 – Welcome to TERRIBLE CENTRE It’s not the most original of town names, but here I am in Terrible Centre, population: 25. I’m a resident with a rucksack containing a mouldy sandwich and a packet of crisps. I go to the town well and fetch my ration of water, which I use to replenish the action points that I need for exploration and building. I spend my six action points walking around outside the town and, given that I have no points left after this activity, I decide to retire for the night. What’s the worst thing that could happen?

DAY 1 – Again. Well what would you know – I died. During the evening attack, a pack of zombies climbed over the town wall and I, foolish resident with a rucksack, had not built any defenses for myself. No, I’d spent my six action points going for a damn stroll around the damn town. I type in my last words: “DEATH IS NOT THE KEY!” before starting again in a new town and the wisdom gained from being devoured by a zombie in my sleep. [Note: this particular screen was grabbed from The Googles because I had forgotten to screenshot my own game.]

Surrounded by zombies! In order to help the town construct defenses, I need to explore the area beyond for materials. I’m in search for some wood or scrap metal, but all I stumble across is more crisps. A misjudged move lands me in zombie territory where, in my attempt to escape, I sustain a flesh wound. Man, this rucksacked resident just can’t get a break. Back in town, I drop my crisps into the town bank where other residents will be able to use it. I’m feeling good about myself – day 1 (take 2) and I’m already making a contribution! I see a handy bandage in the bank, a bandage that can be used to treat wounds! Yoink!

Day 2 — Uh oh, what did I do?

I log in the next day having survived the evening attack from zombies. Progress! I’m making it! Hooray! But my flesh wound has turned into an infection, which is inconvenient. I use my bandage, which heals my wound but the infection remains. I leave my computer to get an apple juice (in the real world) and return to find that I’ve received messages. Lots of messages. All in a very short space of time. Oh boy, maybe this is the community spirit that everyone has been talking about!

Am I THAT much of a complete jerk? My inbox is full of complaints from people who have accused me of “selfish play”. What the blast is this? And an abusive message from some “Griffin” character? I don’t get it – bandages are meant to be used by the wounded, aren’t they? Why is everyone so worked up? I head to the forums for clarification.


Good lord, they want to KILL me and SKIN me?!

Apologies! Ugh, I feel horrible. I don’t think I’ve ever copped such venom from anyone in any game, and this is coming from someone with an Xbox Live account. An apology! That is the key! Surely if I explain myself and apologise for not knowing what I was doing, they’ll let me off? I mean, it was only a bandage, right?

Oh man, what am I doing? Man, way to make me feel like a total moron. And why exactly am I grovelling for forgiveness again? I’m reminding myself that this is a game. It’s not real. I shouldn’t be getting upset or feeling bad or believing that any of this actually matters, and yet, I am.

Justice, served? Oh look, I end up dying that evening anyway. Man, now I feel like a twat. But this means a fresh start in a new town where I now know to build my own defenses, not stumble into zombie hordes, and stay the blast away from the blasting bandages.


  • I didn’t know browser based games actually attracted no-lifers but it seems Tracey found them. I sense much fun could be had trolling this game.

  • Well, it certainly sounds interesting. But if that’s the sort of response that seasoned players give the new kid on the block, how do they expect anyone to stick with it for very long? These things take time to learn after all.

  • The thing to take away from this isn’t so much that video games can have less-than-pleasant players, but that this game still thrives today despite how simple it looks on the surface because the community is so invested in it. People take it seriously, which is what makes it interesting. It’s worth checking out, and I should note that I haven’t received any abuse since the above incident. 😛

        • Actually, you didn’t steal anything, did you? There a common stash in which you put something and took something else, with no system to tell you not to use the bandages etc.
          There should be an inbuilt mechanism to secure these bandages, and if not, then I don’t see what excuses the rudeness of the community when dealing with a noob, especially the way they took themselves so seriously and talked about filing a complaint… Anyway, I’m totally convinced to stay away from that bunch now.

          • Part of the fun of the game is that you have to communiate. Tracey dove right in and didn’t do that, but he seems to be a good sport about realising what he did wrong and is prepared to dive into another game more knowledgable. Kudos to him.

            Also – the complaint system is integral to the game. If you get enough complaints registered against you by the town then you are “shunned”, just like in normal society. It’s fair.

    • Sorry Tracey. Just not getting that message. I really don’t want to spend any of my precious leisure time with people like that.

    • Yeah something similar happened to me when I was playing, I think I put some action points into the wrong project and took something out of the bank – everyone was super-pissed. Ah well, they all died 😀

    • Yeah, this. I assumed it was some kind of automatic addition thing that the forum makes to your character? No? If youre becoming zombie… or something…

      Either that or he’s just a twat.

        • I think there’s Roleplaying in a storyline board, then there’s roleplaying in a Game mechanic board, which just makes you sound like a d*ck 😛

          • no the system automaticaly alters your messages like that when you have been startled and are disturbed by an attack in the night the messages you type the next day will all have random stuttering in them

  • So this is a potentially cool game inhabited by a bunch of total asshats who are doing a lot more to ruin the game by their attitude than the person they’re accusing of ruining the game?

    I think I’ll play it just so I can grief the ****ers. I’ll just eat all the food and use up all the bandages etc.

  • Yeah Trace, there were, like, 2 dozen posts saying not to use the bandage. Completely, utterly, selfish of you. Honestly, I’m not sure how you can live with yourself, after thoughtless squandering such a limited resource in an on-line game that has no consequence at all to anything in real life. Shameful, that’s what it is.

    Methinks the players have lost a little perspective. Pretty common with online play. “Not sure I’m ready to forgive you” … I snorted.

  • Thanks for taking one for the team and confirming that this is a game that no well-adjusted person would ever want to play!

  • A roleplaying game where people actually roleplay? Seriously?

    It’s an interesting insight into a potentially fun little game, but by the way the community developed, it sounds like something you have to take seriously if you hope to survive.

  • Wow, this is amazing. Can you create your own town and populate it with friends? KoTownKuAu for example? I would play that.

    Not some random town though; I like to choose where I live and who I live with. 🙂

    • If KoTownKuAu played out anything like Magicka, then we wouldn’t even have to worry about zombies killing us.

      I’d be doing my darndest to be the village Caboose.

      • “also, i can fly” *jumps of cliff* “I’m flyyyyyiiiiiiing” *crashes to the ground* “the sky is very hard”

      • SteveO: Oh look everybody! Someones at the door!

        Someone at door: Brrraaaiiinnzzz

        SteevO: You must be looking for Braaains. Come on in, I think he’s out the back.

        Everybody: SteveO Noooo!

          • That’d be a leash, not a lease, right? Unless you’re actually having to pay to rent the zombie? I’m pretty sure they don’t actually lease out zombies. If they did I’d have heard about it by now. And leased one.

  • I really want to play this purely for the purposes of stealing and getting as many people killed as possible. What a bunch of tossers!

  • Woah – what a bunch of dicks.. and they guys typing REALLY pissed me off – i mean how insanely annoying was that?

    I’ll tell you how insanely annoying – very

    I was going to play it until i read the article in full lol

  • This is hands down the best thing I have read in Kotaku so far. The article and the comments made my day. Cheers.

  • I was going to try it until I read how big of asshats the community are. Should never have apologized, should have just told them to go f%$% themselves instead. THEY were the ones being selfish. They wanted the bandage in case one of THEM got hurt.

  • Wow those people are horrible. For someone new to the game assuming they are evil for doing something they didn’t know was wrong then posting and… wow I never EVER intend to play this game.

  • All I can think when playing this is; What would I do in EVE? Its very hard not to close the gates on people or steal everything etc seeing as you have no affiliation with the other people playing really.

  • Those are other players? I thought that had to be computer generated responses from NPCs or something.
    Actual human beings are being that crazy over something so trivial??
    Do they realize the bad PR they’re giving this game?
    Do they realize how many people will create account with the sole intention of screwing them all over just to get a response like this?

  • This game is so old it hurts to see that you’re posting it as news. RPS and SHACK reviewed this in season 1, and I’m pretty sure US Kotaku did as well.

    TBH, it’s great fun to start with, then you turn into a bitter bank curmudgeon (see above), then you turn into a troll of epic proportions. Then you give up, because it’s shit.

  • Tried this game. Used up all my action points in 15mins. Had to come back the next day when they had reset. This is the sort of game you put small bursts of effort into and then forget about it until tomorrow. Success is also highly dependant on getting a good team who know what to do with members who actually want to help out. As per any online game, there are all types of personalities.

  • Looks like a potentially stupid game with this bandage thing, and the forum contains CoD people…

    Esfear looks like he/she needs a good killing just for having terrible typing skills.

  • I understand how they were upset.
    If you take a step back, and put yourself in their shoe’s for a minute, it’s a very understandable reaction they gave.

    It’s just like anything else in this world, some people were doing something they enjoy (which everybody is entiled to do, provided it doesn’t cause harm to others), and somebody came in and messed it up for them.
    The point is, the person owned up to the mistake, which was a honest one. Hell, I probably would have done the same thing, and I’m willing to bet a lot have people here would have also.

    -Same reaction is given when you get shot by the dick with the sniper rifle in L4D on expert.
    -Same reaction is given in pretty much given in ALL team based games when someone doesn’t play their part.

    What would be a dick move?
    A: If a whole bunch of people logged on just to greif them, because they don’t agree with their opinion of something.

    Also, get off my damn lawn!
    Phew, I think I got all the old man speak out!

  • This game is fantastic and still going strong! Mainly due to the personal feelings of each of the actions the players take. Remember when CounterStrike came out and you had to WAIT for the match to end? It brought more investment to the table than a quick deathmatch game. This game continues to demand that kind of community investment. And it is EXPENSIVE to play as a ‘Hero’. And well worth it.

    This game is a perfect continuation of the old ‘stranded on a desert island with other people with limited resources…what do you do’ scenario.

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