The Harbinger Online

“A Dark Room” is Compelling and Suspenseful

a dark room screen

“awake. head throbbing. vision blurry.

the room is cold.

the fire is dead.”

There is a blue line on a black screen beneath the words “light fire.”




My initial reaction to the opening screen of A Dark Room was confusion. There was no pictures or videos. There wasn’t even any instructions on anything I had seen so far. It was just a black screen and a few words. Maybe it was the fact that it was different that compelled me to actually continue it. Or maybe it was the fact that this text-based game had somehow shot up to the top ten apps unexpectedly. I had no idea why this game would be so popular, especially in this generation where it’s definitely hard to capture someone’s attention.

I have friends who get addicted to games, where they will click and play until the objective is met and then they find a new game. For some reason, that was never really me. As much as I love games, I’ve never obsessed over one. Until this app.

Slowly, I began to build a small village with the help of another traveler known as the builder. This survival game has no objective, no instructions and no description. You walk in knowing nothing other than the opening lines and the title of the app.

Because of this, after a few clicks of tending to the fire, I was curious to see what this game was all about, and why such a seemingly simple game so popular. After reading some reviews, everyone seemed to be pleased with the game, but all reviews said that the game was more than it seemed. Some had even gone so far as to end up in tears and delete the game.

I wasn’t quite sure what I expected from this game, but I know I didn’t expect what it gave me. As I began building my village with the builder and the travelers that were lost in the surrounding forest, I realized that collecting wood, checking traps and building a village was only just the basic parts of the game.

When a certain part of the game is completed, the game gave me thoughts from the builder and the character I was playing as. I quickly learned that the motives behind this character were much darker than I had expected.

With each line it gave me from the character’s head, a mystery began to unfold, compelling me to continue the game and find out more about what was really going on. I spent, and still spend, at least an hour a day on this app, checking it every so often to see how the mystery and my town progresses.

While I would love to tell you all about the details to the strange and unexpected story of A Dark Room, I feel that exploring the game yourself would be a better alternative to me spoiling it for you. And just so you know, the $0.99 was definitely worth it.

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Stella Braly

Sophomore Stella Braly is a staff writer for the Harbinger. She enjoys writing, all things music, cats and art. Read Full »

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