Games Fondly Remembered: Rust
I’m afraid that I have to begin this series of articles with “Fondly Remembered” because I’m married, and with marriage come certain responsibilities. Like the death of your ego and any realistic expectation to spend an entire day playing games. My wife and I used to be able to spend fourteen or more hours straight playing Civilization 5 on Saturdays, but that is commonly referred to as “The Honeymoon Phase.” We’re well moved on to the more permanent “Ensuring mutual misery” phase, which is the very bar that indicates maturity.
If I have to write, though (it’s my living and she can’t take it away), then let me do so on things that bring pleasant memories. Except of course that I’m talking about Rust, one of the most hilariously addicting shitfestivals of a game ever created (if people still play it..). Calling it pleasant is a grotesque oversimplification.
In the case that my dear reader hasn’t heard of Rust, it is Garry Newmanses’ [sic] Facepunch Studios’ “survival simulator” game that has been in the “early access” stage for something like a year now. The player spawns naked and with only a comically over-sized rock to serve as both a weapon and a tool. Generally what happens at this point is that the freshly spawned player is either eaten by a bear, or shot by an asshole griefer. After a period of respawns, and as the player begins to understand what to actually do with the giant rock, the player will inevitably waste their time trying to establish some type of permanence through which to gain a psychological sanctum within which to mitigate the anxiety of losing everything time and time again. The new player, however, has yet to realize that the anxiety and near-despair of constant loss is the driving dynamic of Rust.
Ultimately, the aim of the game seemed to be to progress upwards through a progression of building things to build better things, while fate and griefers take them away. A collection of stones and wood could eventually be turned into a house with a picket fence, which would rapidly degrade to allow the server to be able to keep populating the even-more-nightmarish version of the Lost island with other psychotics attempting to build houses and envying your meager space.
The first time I played it (after successfully begging the wife to allow me $20), I spent almost an entire afternoon without successfully killing an animal or figuring out how essential a simple stone hatchet would turn out to be. Basically, you couldn’t build any weapon better than a hatchet without killing a wolf, because wolf skins = cloth in the world of Rust. Further, cloth = bowstring. I can’t explain, it just does. Or did. I really need to check up on that.. Anyways, after a while you would realize that it would probably be smarter to just zerg the game when you died and lost everything, and skip the immediate building of a shack. Instead, you would just go straight to crafting a stone hatchet, then attack wolves for food and cloth, make clothes and a sleeping bag (until you have a sleeping bag, spawns are randomized) AND A BOW, and then finally once you’re rich and beyond fear of starvation you can worry about building a place to store your materials.
But wait, what is this? Oh, silly you, did you think a wooden door was sufficient to guard your treasure? Ha! No, wooden doors are like red flags to a bull in the grief-smorgasbord of Rust. In the time that it took you to run to the corner Quick-E-Mart to get your wife tampons, someone in the live, persistent game world saw that your house had a wooden door on it, broke it down with a hatchet, and then placed a metal door in the frame. Oh, and they didn’t do it because they wanted your house, they did it because they wanted you to suffer. Nobody lives there, it’s just a fucking metal door where your fucking house used to let you in, and now it doesn’t. Congratulations! And welcome to Rust. It has to speak to my life that I actually miss that game.. But seriously, it’s kind of fun. I’d recommend it.
-Brian Whittemore, Lord Paramount of The Conscientious Radical
All Images were screen captures from PlayRust.com