i miss the internet
If you haven’t already played Valve’s smash hit Left 4 Dead, where the hell have you been? If you have, then you know what it’s like to find yourself and three other survivors standing atop an abandoned apartment building, surrounded by zombies.
Before you have a chance to catch your breath or take in your surroundings, you hear the thumping of a helicopter. As it passes, the pilot tells you over a PA system to try and make it to the local hospital for extraction. In the distance you can see a sign for Mercy Hospital, it looks to be only a few blocks away, but something tells you that the path ahead is not going to be as easy as it seems.
Other than these brief snippets of dialog at the beginning of each “movie”, you as the player know nothing about where you are or what is going on around you. Common sense tells you that there has been some sort of infectious outbreak, but is it viral, perhaps bacterial, maybe even alien? There is no way to tell. The only hints you are given are scrawled across the walls of the buildings you make your way through.
Rather than pull the player out of the world of tension and fear that so much time was spent crafting, Valve decided to let the more inquisitive players figure things out for themselves. Much like their previous hit Portal, scraps of information are scattered throughout the game. These tidbits are interesting enough to keep the player hunting for more without spoon feeding the story directly to them.
These walls have become post-apocalyptic forums and a substitute for texts and emails. There are messages from loved ones, the last known locations for safe rescue, as well as messages one would typically find in forum posts.
There are so many messages and yet so little time to really study them, which is a shame considering how much time was probably spent creating all of them. This last image is my favorite, click on it to increase the picture size and let me know if you can see why.
Yes or No?