"Living is hard. Am I doing it right? Feeling like I'm just sticking around. Hnn. Survive being alive." - Strange, a stalker in the Zone.
I love survival games for two reasons. One, they give me options I didn't have when I was a kid. I grew up dirt poor. Sometimes I would go a day and a half before I ate something. Sometimes two days. (I remember snatching this orange out of a high school garbage can when no one was looking.)
The second reason is it reminds me of the barren wasteland surrounding my childhood home. My town was parked nearby a smelting site which closed down in 1972. The site had a massive smokestack, railyards, big metal buildings and fields of black glass-like slag. There were no trees for miles and ponds and creeks were multi-coloured. All of this was accessible to impressionable children.
These were the best days of my young life. I spent whole summers wandering alone in those places. Free from bullies, an escape from poverty, it was everything to me. It was my ruin. I came up with a million stories, imagining myself a lone survivor, needing nothing and no one.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chornobyl