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‘No Players Online’ is a Horror Lost in Time

  • Set in an abandoned FPS game.
  • Nothing is as it seems.
  • It’s free, and you can play it right now.

Think back to some of the earliest FPS games you experienced. Specifically, think back to the first multiplayer FPS games you experienced. The late 90s were full of them, as the genre really began to spread its wings and take flight, and even in the early days of the internet, multiplayer was beginning to become a sought after experience. What happened to a lot of those old games? Almost all of them are now lost to the sands of time. But if you look hard enough, you can still find some active in some capacity even today. Although what you find might be a ghost town of an experience.

Enter No Players Online from Alpha Beta Gamer. The premise is simple; imagine dropping in to an old game just for nostalgia’s sake. There are no other players on the server, but if you hang around long enough, someone just might join right? Now imagine playing an old game and noticing something going wrong. I’m not talking about visual artifacts of old games clashing with new systems, but I mean something is going really wrong. No Players Online is a horror game, and the horror isn’t made immediately apparent, although with the backing audio its hard to shake that feeling of being watched from the moment that you start. Here’s an excerpt of the description of No Players Online from the website:

No Players Online is a creepy little PS1 styled first person horror game set within the empty servers of a defunct Capture The Flag first person shooter.

In No Players Online you find a dusty old VHS tape with the words “Capture The Flag Project Footage 03.20/86” scrawled on it. After inserting it into a video player you find that it contains footage of an old Capture The Flag FPS, but the servers are all empty – or so they seem…

I intentionally left off the end of the description because experiencing it without knowing what’s coming gives it a far better impact. When I went in blind, I was legitimately creeped out by the experience. If you do want to see the full description though, you can check it out here. If you want to skip right to the game itself, you can download it here.

For a free game that only has about a 10-minute runtime, it was a fun little number. It reminds me of older free-to-play horror games like White Finger six years ago although not quite as in-your-face with the scares. The eerie feeling and then when everything becomes more clear as you play made No Players Online something special to experience. If you’d rather watch instead of play the game, however, you can catch the playthrough provided by Alpha Beta Gamer below.