I play Dead by Daylight as a Survivor named Detective Tapp. As for why I play Detective Tapp, I’m not sure. I’m not particularly fond of the Saw films, but as far as Dead by Daylight goes, Tapp checked off all the boxes for me. I like the way the character is modelled, with a bloodstained leather jacket or a beat cop uniform, and his little animations such as the quick tug at his pant legs before crouching down to work on a generator that remind me of the way my father would crouch when helping me with my bike as a kid.
I’ll start by describing the last few minutes of my most recent trial as a Survivor:
In this trial, we’ve been mostly successful, and we’re nearing the end game, having repairing three of five generators with no casualties so far. The second to last generator activated my Detective’s Hunch perk revealed the final totem: situated adjacent to one of two exit gates and opposite the killer’s shack. This was risky. The shack had a basement, and lots of meat hooks. The killer was the Hag whose trap ability allows her to draw teleportation traps to zip across the map for surprise ambushes. I crept towards the totem. No Hag traps so far, that’s good.
I lean down to start to cleanse the totem just as my team finishes repairing the fifth and final generator. With all the gens complete, the exit gates are powered and I can escape, but the totem flares alive from a surprise hex and I’m hit with a rush of excitement upon the realization that I’m cleansing the killer’s perk called Hex: No One Escapes Death. This hex enables the killer to down survivors with a single swing.
Quickly, my excitement turns to dread. The hag had teleported to a nearby trap hidden within the shack is now lurching towards me. I commit to the cleanse, but soon find myself bullied to the floor. And, as if to insult me while I’m being carried to the basement in the killer shack, I notice the game spawned the escape hatch just outside the shack entrance. Now impaled in the basement, I dangle helplessly as I observe my team.
NOED changes the end game. Under the pressure of one hit downs, brave survivors become meek, and this trial is no exception. Two simply give up and for the exit gate, and one does a quick, but unsuccessful search for the NOED totem before joining her team through the exit. With all these variables against my favor, I said to myself, “Well they’re not coming back for me.” All alone in the trial, the Entity quickly claims me as his offering and I’m sent back to the post-game screen.
It’s at this exact moment I receive a message notification from my Steam friend.
"Is that game any good?"
Alt-tabbed out of the game, I took a moment to reflect. Well, I certainly play a lot of Dead by Daylight. I’ve unlocked every single survivor perk, even those from the DLC, and my Tapp is Prestige III which granted some awesome bloody attire.
But I also thought about how all my gaming habits have changed since playing Dead by Daylight which include:
· Changing my Steam nickname and profile picture to Detective Tapp so it appears as though I am theDetective Tapp in game.
· Updating my Steam Profile with a Dead by Daylight theme.
· Cleansing my Steam Library; uninstalling and hiding nearly every other game.
· Removing all my Steam friends, save for 0ne.
· Uninstalling all non-Steam app stores, one by one. First Epic Games Store, then Origin, and finally Ubisoft Connect.
Why had my gaming hobby turned into such a singular obsession?
Perhaps “obsession” isn’t the right word. I do take breaks from Dead by Daylight, sometimes for weeks at a time. But I think to distill it down, the root cause is that my day to day is already filled with people making demands of me. I’m bombarded with texts, slacks and calls. Television is littered with slick ads developed to draw and hook you by the emotions. App stores and websites serve ads that catalog and target you based on your web history.
And even video games, which have long been my escape either funnel you into commitments and responsibilities, like World of Warcraft, or demand perfect communication and execution, like Apex Legends.
But for me, Dead by Daylight is different. Aside from pre- and post-game chat and third-party chat, communication in Dead by Daylight is limited to a few basic commands:
· Point: Look or go there
· Beckon: Come Here or follow
· Crouch: Thank you (to fellow survivors)
For me, it’s the lack of communication that allows Dead by Daylight to be place of quiet meditation dotted with temporary excitements and frustrations. All this combines into an experience that is both terrible and amazing, exhilarating and frustrating, and toxic and formative. Perhaps not unlike the life of a career cop my character is modelled from. And it’s why I keep playing, and probably why I’ll keep playing until they stop the servers.
So back to the question,
"Is that game any good?"
“Well, I have over 650 hours so far", I didn’t know how else to answer.
"Wh0a", he replied.