Diary of a NEO Scavenger (Part 1)

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I’ve been playing a lot of Blue Bottle Games’ NEO Scavenger recently. It’s a turn-based survival game that pitches you out into an apocalyptic wasteland with only your wits, a blue dress and a big stick. Read on to see how I scavenged my way to the top.

Before the game proper starts, I need to choose my ‘skills’. According to the stats sheet, I am a ‘basic human’, which I find somewhat insulting. Being a basic human, I only get to choose 4 skills, as opposed to (I would presume) a deluxe human, who would get at least 10.

I decide the best course of action is to be a basic badass, so I pick strong (for carrying more loot and lifting stuff, I guess), tough (I can take more wounds than most and can probably wear leather jackets), melee (for hitting people with things) and eagle eye (because it reminds me of Action Man and he seems like the sort of chap I should be emulating if I’m going to survive in a post apocalyptic wasteland).

I naturally dismiss such skills as hiding (not very badass), electrician (because I can’t imagine many people will need their homes rewiring in post-apocalyptic America), botany (again, not even remotely badass) and ranged (a real man fights with his hands).

I notice that there is no option to name my scavenger, so I’m calling him Riggs. Yes, after Riggs from Lethal Weapon (remember Mel Gibson also played Mad Max and demonstrated a set of skills that are likely to be extremely useful in this game).

Right! Skills picked, Riggs is ready for adventure. Let’s go!

I’ve woken up covered in goo, disoriented on the floor of a cryochamber facility. And there’s something coming down the hall outside. Something coming fast.

Oh dear. I have three options – jump out of a window, do some melee or do something strong. Obvisouly the first option is out of the question. A real man stands and fights. Action Man would stand and fight. Riggs would stand and fight. I plump with doing something strong, based on no logic at all – especially since I don’t know what’s coming. If it’s a guy who wants me to rewire his home I’m going to feel like a right plum.

Thankfully, it’s just a wolfman.

Being a badass, I get the jump on it and crush its windpipe, only sustaining some “nasty wounds” from its claws. I can deal with nasty wounds. I’m Riggs.

Rather than hang around here, I now take the option of jumping out of the window.

And this is where I find myself. I’ve no idea who I am or where I am. Except that I do know who I am. I’m Action Man. I’m Riggs.

I’ve not been given any objectives yet, so I don’t really know what to do with myself. I decide to have a look at my inventory. I’ve probably got a badass sword or bow-staff or at least a pair of nunchuks.

I'm wearing a dress. I'm pretty!

Ah. I appear to be wearing a blue dress, a bracelet and a necklace. This will not do. I don’t even have any shoes. Even Murtagh had shoes.

I reckon I’ve really got two option here. I can see an abandoned town or a patch of forest nearby. Since the forest is closer, I’ll head there first. To try and scavenge some shoes.

Holy mother-load! There was a shack in those woods. A well stocked shack. I have found:

  • A pair of shoes
  • Two pairs of jeans
  • A t-shirt
  • A hoody
  • A meat clever
  • Two bottles, one full of water, one empty
  • A lighter
  • A pair of binoculars
  • Three (!) plastic bags (it was probably our reliance on plastic bags that contributed to the apocalypse. When will man learn?)
  • Some soup cans
  • A cooking pan
  • A crowbar
  • A multitool / penknife
  • A rucksack to put it all in
  • And a ruddy, bloody rifle. Complete with scope, sling and 15 rounds of ammo!

Also some big sticks, some twigs, a newspaper, some receipts, a handful of string and some jelly beans, which I don’t bother with. Still no leather jacket too.

I take what I can carry and ditch the blue dress (which I now realise was a hosptial gown) and take off my bracelet (likewise, a hospital tag). I note that the tag has my name on it. Apparently I’m Patrick Kindred. Fuck that. I am Riggs!

I have a gun!

This is much more like it. This is easy. I’m off to the town to see what I can scrounge – I mean scavenge.

It’s a short walk to the town where I come across an abandoned apartment building. Naturally, I’m busting in to see what I can steal. There are three factors to think about when scavenging in the world: loot (how much you’ll find), safety and, sneak (how likely people are to notice me). I’m strong, which means I can carry more loot and the crowbar I just found means that I can bust things open to find even more. Though this does come at the expense of lessening my sneakiness. But sod that, I’ve got a gun.

Don't shoot me

Good news and bad news. I’ve found something to scavenge, but smashing cabinets open with my crowbar and my big, strong arms has attracted a bandit. I also notice that I’m still injured from my wolfman run-in. I also remember that I didn’t choose the ranged skill at the beginning so my rifle is about as useful as botany. Also, due to lack of planning I’ve run out of turns, so have to wait a minute before I can attack him and in the time it takes me to get my tough, strong muscles flexed, another bandit has turned up. And it’s started to rain.

Stay tuned for the continuing adventures of Riggs in the diary of a NEO Scavenger part 2. Which I’ll write later on. Meanwhile, I highly recommend that you play the demo, which can be found here and then consider spending a few bucks to get access to the open beta. It’s a one-man dev team and daddy needs some shoes.

UPDATE: Hilariously, when I went back to write part 2 of this diary, my save was broken. Which is probably for the best, because I was probably about to die anyway. Professionals!

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