IndieGala is proud to present the Die Young Game. An even more exciting survival/adventure type of a game, that’s not only published by IndieGala but also developed by IndieGala.
But, the Die Young game is something different. It not only inspired me to explore some of the best survival movies. But at the same time, it inspired me to explore and analyze the different types of survival content. Such as TV shows and survival TV game shows.
Die Young Game and survival TV
Both types of survival content are still popular today and are still being made. And of course, both of them are still aired. Sure I previously discussed the different types of survival in modern movies, but for now, let’s focus on the small screen. The TV boxes that we all have and use almost every day.
What’s so special about the survival TV shows and survival game shows? What’s the point of making them? And is there some reality in them? You know… since they belong to the reality TV part of the TV content? More on that later, but first a word or two about the game is in order.
Die Young Game: What’s the game all about?
Die Young Game is an open world, dynamic exploration-survival experience. At the same time it is a game in which you play from a first-person perspective. At the start of the game, you wake up on a remote island in the Mediterranean. Also you’re kidnapped, buried alive and left for dead. Starving and dehydrated, your struggle to survive is just about to begin. Armed with only wits, agility, and the will to survive, you must make it out of the island or Die Young.
Survival is the keyword here, but in order to survive, you must also fight. Furthermore, you must also explore the island and its surrounding before you dare to escape it. Cool right? We thought so too.
Die Young Game and different types of survival shows
I often wonder. Who actually watches these types of survival shows and survival game shows? I’m not a reality TV fan myself, but I figured since they keep making them, there has to be an audience for them. Kinda like with Michael Bay movies. They’re not good (in fact they’re pretty much terrible) but there’s apparently an audience for them, so studios are giving Bay big money to keep making them. And then I watched an interview with probably my all-time favorite director Paul Thomas Anderson. He was a guest at Jimmy Kimmel, and in the interview, he talked about his frequent collaborator. Daniel Day-Lewis.
Apparently, one of the greatest auteurs of his generation and one of the greatest actors living today is a huge fan of Naked and Afraid. I believe he used the word OBSESSED with Naked and Afraid. That’s right. For the greatest actor that he is, according to PTA, Daniel Day Lewis has a terrible taste in TV preferences. And then it hit me.
So, it’s not just the dumb, uneducated and poor that watch survival TV shows. The wealthy, educated, talented and smart people watch this type of content too. It’s a fascinating fact to me. And to be honest, I’m puzzled by that fact as well.
What’s so special about Survival TV shows and Survival TV game shows?
Well, first I should really point out the difference between the Survival TV shows and Survival game shows. The former being slightly more educational than the latter indeed. In that bracket we have TV shows like Man vs. Wild, Beyond Survival and Survivorman and they often have a solitary protagonist. He (or she) is in an extreme, remote environments and through his/hers expertise in surviving such environments you can actually learn something.
Survivalists like Bear Grylls or Les Stroud can actually teach you some useful skills that you can later apply if you find yourself in such a scenario. Things like how to ignite a fire, how to stay dry and warm during a storm, how to hunt and so on. Or even how to avoid poisoning yourself with dangerous herbs, berries, or whatnot. And for the most part, the appeal of watching them, is in the educational purpose of the show. The reality aspect of the TV aspect is debatable, but for the most part, is educational.
However, the Survival TV game shows are totally different
I can’t really say the same about the TV game shows. Furthermore, can you believe that Survivor turned 20 this May? Indeed. Survivor premiered 20 years ago (on May 31, 2000), and is still going strong, 2 decades later. In terms of popularity and ratings. Back then some 52 million people watched Richard Hatch take home the $1 million prize. And the concept remained the same. It’s a Lord Of The Flies type of competition, in which around 20 strangers are trying to survive in a remote location. I must note that the ratings are not in the 50 million people today, as they were 20 years ago, but they’re still strong. There’s a bigger chance for a TV station to dismiss your favorite TV show, than a TV game show similar to Survivor. It’s sad but it’s true. But what’s the basic concept in them?
Those contestants in Survivor have little water, food, or supplies. And after about 40 days in isolation, the winner will get the ultimate prize. The money prize. But the thing is, Survivor and other similar TV game shows are treated like sports and a form of entertainment. It’s not solely about survival in the environment. It’s also about surviving of the people with you in that environment. The audience is both after the Big Brother aspect of the show, and after the survival aspect. You see, I found a lot of manipulation, backstabbing and intrigue in the Survivor-like shows. So much so, that those things became more important than the actual physical survival. The drama need to happen. Total Drama.
A sport and a social experiment
According to Harvard behavioral economists Iris Bohnet and Richard Zeckhauser, the participants in such TV game shows prefer to gamble on a random outcome. Rather than risk betrayal by someone else in their group. But because of the lack of reality in the concept, there has to be some betrayal and gamble. It just has to happen. How else is the show going to last 20 years? Where will the drama come from? You can expect the bug-eating show to be entertaining for a finite amount of time. No, other source of entertainment need to prevail in such cases. The catty, petty and vicious backstabbing and cheating. Yes, there is sometimes cheating involved, and it’s not pretty.
I guess the appeal is partly in the fact that TV game shows like Survivor are a mix of competition and entertainment. All wrapped in one. Out of 20 contestants in total, one is the winner, and you have to sit through a lot in order to get to the finale. Whether it’s based on his/her survival skills or his shenanigans it doesn’t matter. On the other hand, TV game shows give a lot of people to experience 15 minutes of fame. Can’t really forget about that.
Not bad for a Mr. Nobody right? Money and a small dose of notoriety after appearing on TV would appeal to a lot of people, not just the regular Joe. That same Richard Hatch made a career out of TV game show appearances, but paid a price for that. He’s known for playing dirty and he even subsequently served a prison sentence for tax evasion. And today is not a very liked or respected member of Survivor’s „family“. But like Andy Warhol said. Everyone is going to be famous for 15 minutes.