DayZ is a bad game. I truly don’t think anyone should play it, but do I regret playing it? No, not at all. According to Steam’s admittedly loose records, I’ve spent a whopping—and some would say shameful—405.6 hours in DayZ’s glitch-ridden, apocalyptic multiplayer sandbox, and I wouldn’t trade a single moment of it for all the finely-tuned and properly functioning multiplayer experiences in the world. Why? Well because DayZ meant something to me, to my friends; it provided us with a playground to explore and interact with the worst sides of human nature (and discover how those sides blossom under the cover of anonymity). Long evenings trekking through the desolate nation of Chernarus taught us how the journey can often be better than the destination, and that the best journeys are always shared. More than anything, though, it was home to some of our most cherished gaming memories. Yes, really. There may have been hundreds of other games, most likely better ones, that could have offered the same kind of experiences, but they didn’t. DayZ did, and I’d like to talk about that.
(Disclaimer: this is an article discussing my personal experiences with DayZ between the years of 2013 - 2016. The version of the game discussed belongs to that era of its Early Access development. I have briefly played the game since then, and it doesn’t seem to have changed much—no surprise there—but I still can’t claim that these observations and anecdotes relate to DayZ in its current state.)
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