A Creepy Game About Exploring Empty Multiplayer Servers

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A Creepy Game About Exploring Empty Multiplayer Servers

Think of all those multiplayer games you’ve played that have since shut down, all the indie shooters and adventures with empty servers, sitting there idly by.

Now imagine a horror game set within that emptiness.

That’s No Players Online, a creepy interactive short story available for free on itch.io. The game starts with you finding a VHS tape named “Capture the Flag Project”. After putting it into a player, you’re given a list of CTF servers, some of which are online, others not, all of them empty.

So you start wandering around the levels, exploring the empty maps. There’s no-one around, so you might as well capture the flag.

Naturally, that’s not the end of the story.

It’s not possible to talk about the cooler parts of the game without spoiling them. So I’ll just mention this: the game has hidden inputs, codes, and secret endings. If you enjoyed Pony Island and the weird shit that took place there, No Players Online is a good use of an hour.

Find out more about the game, and the download links, over at the itch.io page.

Comments

  • If you enjoyed Pony Island and the weird shit that took place there…I enjoyed the first half and then it overstayed its welcome and dragged on too long as these meta-games tend to. Hopefully this one’s a little more succinct because I love these sorts of games but the writing tends to range between “Who was phone?” and “You’ve met with a terrible fate haven’t you?”.

  • Interesting concept but that video tells me absolutely nothing about the game. At the moment, it makes no sense. The footage is from 80’s style ads but the gameplay style is that of the mid-to-late 90’s at the earliest, and there’s nothing to tie any of it together. Without reading the article and knowing the idea of the game, or even that it is a game, all I would be able to surmise is that there’s a VHS tape with those clips on it.

    Still, it’s an interesting concept and reminds me of an article on here from years ago about someone logging onto a very old and empty MMORPG server and finding it completely empty, until they find someone with mod abilities who toys with them while posing as an NPC (which, in turn, reminds me on my time as a Minecraft server admin, appearing and disappearing in a flash of lightning while disguised as Herobrine).

  • Interesting concept but that video tells me absolutely nothing about the game. At the moment, it makes no sense. I think that’s the whole point? It’s got me interested, anyway.

  • This sounds great. I’m really leaning towards prioritising either free or under $5 itch games in 2020 (Maybe creating a blog for it), as they really have made more if an impact on me than 99% of AAA games I’ve played in the last 5 years. Will chrck this out very soon

  • If I could summarise this: “Made in Unity”. Confused aesthetic (80s terminal/VHS style, but late 90s/early 2000s ‘game’), a story that falls into ‘WHO WAS FONE?’ territory as noted above, awful default Unity-style controls, basically any My First Unity-style game in terms of most gameplay. The only thing special is the convoluted bullshit that goes into it. Plus the weird CRT effect hurts my eyes (Did the dev never play games on a CRT? They didn’t look like wavy shit!) Spoilers below:

    The entire thing is just an ARG-style bit of fuckery involving a CTF prototype holding the developer’s dead wife’s soul. There’s some obtuse clues required to ‘solve’ the game with a boring end result – involving emailing the dev, looking through some tiles, and playing a different game the dev made. It’s also filled with weird anachronisms like the nonsensical 80s/90s/2000s mashup that aren’t endearing or stylish but just ridiculous. It’s bad creepypasta notable only for its curious aesthetic of an empty server – which was when it was at its most interesting until the stupid black shadow appears and “Lol this game raises the dead” became the primary plot point.

    • Forgot to mention – accidentally deleted this part before, would edit but ya know, moderation…
      The other side of this was a ‘This is Not Porn’ style bit of ARG nonsense that suffers from the same sort of problem – the end result of which was a piece of paper in a fake mushroom in a forest in Belgium. No, I’m serious, look it up.

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