NO PLAYERS ONLINE Is Oldschool Internet Creepy
I’ve been digging through the halls of itch.io lately, which generally should be taken as some kind of cry for help. Seriously, I’ve had peaks into the Necronomicon that were less maddening than trying to parse through the itch.io new release tab. But every once in awhile, you find something cool. That cool thing I found today was an indie horror… thing. I wanted to say shooter, but No Players Online is not really a shooter. It just pretends to be a shooter. Intrigued?
No Players Online replicates that experience of joining a map before anyone else. You walk around, shooting at trees, practicing your sick jumps, attempting to draw dicks on the wall… good times. There’s no denying just how eerie those long corridors and blind turns are without the echoing sounds of gunfire. All you can do is capture the flag by your lonesome and pop off a few rounds to stave off the boredom. That is, until the ghost shows up.
Yes, this wouldn’t be a proper itch.io horror game without spooky ghosts for discount YouTube wannabes to get scared at. As soon as you capture the flag once, some spooky shit starts to go down. It’s pretty standard, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t effective. Besides, there’s a whole metagame thing going on that just screams “classic internet creepy.”
You young kids might not remember, but there was a time when games made you work for your secret endings. Or, you know, even had secret endings. Playing through No Players Online takes about 10 minutes, but actually finding all of the secret content will take much longer. This is one of those games that asks you to download a secret file and “burn it onto a disk, and read it from your BMOS terminal.” Everythings all written in code, so trying to figure out just what exactly you’re actually supposed to do is part of the fun.
So if you want to play, head on over to No Players Online‘s itch.io page and download it. The game is free, but you can support the developer if you like what you see. Hunt around the page for some clues, and see if this style of meta-horror is for you.