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Why Play a Game You Can't Win?

'Don't Starve' will wreck your self-esteem once you realize that maybe you're not a good gamer and you can't beat this indie heart-stopper, but there is something to be learned in every failure.

 People look at me funny when I say that my favorite game is one I've never beaten. I've played this game for four years now. From beta stages to all of the expansions, the victory has been ever elusive. Although I've played this game with the help of cheats, walkthroughs, and real-life friends, I've lost to this frustrating, maddening game every. single. time. It has taught me that sometimes, life sucks. We can't always get a gold star, but we might as well have fun losing.

Don't Starve is one game that is impossible to give up on. Don’t Starve is an indie game intriguing enough for even the inept and non-committal gamer. With its simple interface, bare-boned instruction, and free reign on a world with no rules, many players delight in this creepy yet hilarious game. Most would think the title of this noir game would explain how to win it, but starving is the least of the player's problems. Many characters can be unlocked, all with different abilities and weaknesses after achieving certain feats and obstacles in the game. No matter the character, the player must face monsters, encroaching insanity, and harsh worlds in order to beat the game.

Don't Starve leaves a lot to the imagination. There is nothing to assist the player in figuring out gameplay or strategies except for the simple instruction: "Get something to eat before night comes." The Don't Starve company has three games in its hit series: Don’t Starve, Don't Starve: Reign of Giants and Don’t Starve: Shipwrecked. As the player enters a dark, uninhabited world in Reign of Giants, the player must battle fierce predators and imaginative vermin while struggling alone in a seemingly endless world to maintain health, hunger, and sanity levels. In Shipwrecked, many new creatures and unfriendly faces await your demise on an island paradise. Many new players make mistakes when playing for the first time. New players think they must fight off every monster that comes their way in order to win the game, but in reality this is the

The last rule a player should follow, the aim of the game is keep the health, hunger, and sanity levels high long enough to find and enter Maxwell's Door, a randomly spawned door where you must face off with the game's villain and evil scientist Maxwell. Alternatively, one can collect various items that can be built together on a platform to create a portal to exit the game. Each item is hidden in different parts of the world, and each a has odd name, like "ring thing" or "metal potato thing." They seem relatively useless to a new gamer because the "things" do not help you fight off monsters or hunt for food, but when all are collected and put together, the items help the player to escape a harsh virtual reality. With luck and the right amount of skill, a player can survive long enough to face the dangers that await him or her.

Before the player can even think of exiting and beating the game, they must survive and thrive in a world with scarce resources. Many players eat meat obtained from slain creatures because it awards you the most health and hunger points, and it is readily available through the numerous monsters around. The meat is cooked in crock pots or dried on racks for even more health points. Using a science or alchemy machine, one can also create farms and bee hives to raise hunger points even though the resources to find these are sparsely scattered throughout the world. Most of the time, a player dies from attacks by monsters that slowly drains his or her health points. When one must face a monster, he or she must attack quickly with some sort of tool, like a spear. Some monsters must be killed in order to survive. For example, once spiders are killed they release silk, which can be utilized to make important tools and life-saving clothing once winter arrives. The only way to obtain silk is to kill a spider, so the player must risk his health points to fight the creature. Another beneficial monster is the clockwork chess pieces. They provide the player with gears once they die that can be used to refrigerate food. The monsters are tough, the food is scarce, but surviving past all the pitfalls is extremely rewarding.

There are many characters that can be played when enjoying Don’t Starve. The first player everyone starts out with is Wilson, who is described as an average guy with a great beard. He tells amusing anecdotes about everything he sees, with only a slight touch of sarcasm. Webster is a character unlocked only after you bury a spider bone in one of the many graves around the world. Wendy is a creepy little girl who has an evil twin sister ghost that attacks monsters for the player. Willow is another young girl, but instead of a twin sister ghost she is equipped with a lighter and a pyromaniac heart who refuses to eat meat, which makes it hard to maintain hunger points. Each player comes with their own maximum and minimum health point quota, and with each unlocked character the quota becomes more difficult to maintain. The characters are easily the most eccentric part of the game, and everyone soon comes to love each character's quirks and odd ways of approaching the world of Don't Starve.

In conclusion, Don't Starve is a complex game with more pitfalls than a mountain-high jump. Surviving in a strange virtual world is hard enough without monsters, but fighting them is only half the battle. Maintaining a steady supply of food is as difficult as battling a lightning-wielding chess piece. Many characters assist the player in achieving the means of survival. Surviving is accomplished by hiding from monsters and finding food. The less dangerous of the two is finding food. Some may say Don't Starve is too complex to beat, but once the player gets the hang of hunting and surviving, the rest is a breeze.

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