The Beast Within
I don’t know what it is that makes me go for This Early Access game over That One. Independent of any philosophical considerations, Early Access as a business and cultural practice means different things, in just that way that a beta from Company X is more like an alpha, and a beta from GmbH ß is a relentless, rigorously polished marketing vehicle. So, I often give Early Access stuff a pass until it is closer to Regular Access just to give it room to breathe. Everybody is telling me Starbound is a thing, if not the thing, but just absorbing the rulebooks from all these skirmishy tabletop feasts rolling in lately has occupied most of my upstairs meat. Starbound isn’t going anywhere, in any case. By the time I get in there, you’ll be able to make croissants or whatever. It’ll be fine.
We started playing Rust, though, because Gabriel had seen the Argyle Alligator’s “Rust Interviews” clip and laughed his ass off. So if you were wondering why you should do everything in your power to encourage people making videos of your shit, well, I’ll just leave that there.
Before we continue, I have the thing you need to take your Rust experience to the next level. When you load into a server, the first thing you should do is to bring up the console with F1, and enter:
This will make people without clothing equipped appear completely naked. There is probably someone for whom a limp-ass prong represents titillating material, but this is about as nonsexual as nudity gets. Without the “false” flag set, people show up with pants when they don’t actually have pants, which is untrue. It’s untrue mechanically and it’s untrue literally. Rust is an open world survival game with strong crafting elements, so in order for it to be stable conceptually it must honestly represent itself. There are many games of this type, but their choice to go as realistic as possible radically alters how you perceive and interact with the world. Believe it.
The main feature of the game is other people. I don’t say that to diminish the work they’ve done with materials and recipes or whatever, exploration, that kind of stuff. But is the state of shared deprivation - nakedness - and the interactions this inspires that constitute the stew everything else is floating in. I’m saying that, of course, even as I am remembering the counterexample.
The actual experience we had, with its emotional aspects embedded, might be beyond words. But we were hunched over a fire pit, starving to death, learning how to cook chicken while we ate enough toxic raw chicken to stay conscious. We were throwing up on our fire, and we couldn’t stop. It was the middle of the night and we had to eat. We lashed together a door for the shack we were huddling in, and waited for the bear to leave.