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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Space Station 13 Review

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This game is about living on a space station...

*wet body-being-sucked-inside-out sound*

...with some job hazards.


*alien overlord laughter*

*xenomorph incident sounds*

"Take it, boy!"

"Space Station 13" is officially described as being a top-down role-playing multiplayer game,

but that really feels way too simple for it.

Especially when you consider all the features it has compared to, uh,

other space games that have come out recently.

Though technically this game has conversions that move it more away from just being a space station. We'll talk about that later.


It's worth noting that this game has been around for over thirteen years now,

and is pretty unrecognizable from its earlier version.

So it's been around long before the whole retro pixel graphics thing that indie developers love so much.

But honestly, I don't know if the game could work without really simple graphics.

I don't think we need to see heart surgery.

There are a ton of jobs in "Space Station 13", and some are unique to their server.

So if you can inject someone with a furry virus and lock them in a prison,

how come every big let's player isn't playing this game all the time?

Well, before I can talk about how much I love it,

I have to talk about the big hurdles it has.

If the visuals weren't retro enough for you, don't worry.

Installing the game will bring you right back a decade or two.

The game was built for a really shit client. A BEYOND shit client.

It's called BYOND.

Or maybe Bye-ond.

I don't think it matters, but either way, you need this to play the game.

So while that's downloading, you make an account.

By the way, make sure you're thirteen.

So this is the client.

You can browse "Space Station 13" servers from here, or directly connect to one through an IP.

You can also browse games on the website, but either way you're going to have to launch it through the client.

So the game is free, you just have to install this thing that looks like it should be giving you malware every second.

When you do see the server you want, the game will start downloading data,

and then it will play an advertisement for you.

AD: "Meet the ordinary heroes. They don't have statues erected,"

*Hacking sounds* AD: "Meet the ordinary heroes. They don't have statues erected,"

AD: "Meet the ordinary heroes. They don't have statues erected,"

"I now have full access to your systems."

But if the ads are too much for you, /vg/ station put together a nice little list of ways to avoid them.

But once the map loads, you're finally...

almost in the game.

Like most role-playing games, you need to make your character here.

You decide what they look like, what their occupation preferences are, what their name is...

It's really picking your job that's the most important part.

If you're brand new to the game, or even some stations, it's good to pick "assistant".

You get to explore around since no one really expects anything of you.

Any of the other gray jobs are a good choice after you've done some assistant work.

You're less likely to be screamed at for not doing good at these jobs.

But I guess that really depends on your server spectrum.

So if we look at another server... hey, wait.

This character creator is a little different. There's different jobs here too. So what's happening?

I know I haven't even started on the gameplay yet, but we're gonna need to talk about some history to help you understand what's going on here.

I don't want to bore you, so I won't go too into detail.


Okay, so...

"Space Station 13" was started in 2003 by a guy named Exad...


It had atmospheric simulations, and held about less than ten players, but it rolled out more features over the years.

There were very few people, including the creator, who actually had the source files.

But then in 2006, the code was literally stolen by someone with a flash drive.

He then hosted his own server, but only shared the compiled code.

But then someone had a reverse engineering tool for BYOND, so they could crack that.

So they had an... almost the source code version, which they then decided to make open.

Then Something Awful noticed the game.

The Goons hammered out their own story of the setting, which most people accept today.

Some smaller communities worked on their own version of the game,

but Goonstation had a closed source version.

Their code was by far more advanced, and in 2010 they made a public release of it.

But they would lock up all future versions.

So then Traditional Games and Bay 12 games made their own systems based off of the Goon code.

A few other communities like Yogstation and Facepunch came in, and they made their own versions, too.

So everyone did their own thing until Goon code was stolen and leaked this year.

There were a mix of reactions about this.

Some people wanted to use the code for themselves, other said it shouldn't be touched because it was stolen.

A great debate began, with entire dozens of players voicing their opinions.

Goonstation made a new public release, and /tg/ made a third branch to try and develop off of it.

Plus, people were making spinoff games off of "Space Station 13".

There were spinoffs involving away missions, or Fallout 13 or Colonial Marines...

Versions, versions, versions.

So while a lot of jobs, and the general idea of "Space Station 13" is shared by these servers,

years of different development paths have made them, well, a little different.

So while there are going to be variations, I'm hoping to give you a general idea of what's going on here.

So while I could cover departments like command or security,

I can't go through every job, but I can talk about the ones most stations have.

Okay. I think we're good to go.

Let's start the video game.

Truth be told, I haven't been showing you the full UI, so I'm gonna zoom that out.


Okay, there we go.

There's not a ton of animations in this game,

so you need to look at this window to figure out what's going on. And also to see what people are saying.

If you joined right when a round started, you'll usually spawn in your workplace.

The icons down at the bottom here are for managing your inventory.

You have pockets, suit slots, backpacks, anything you can think of really.

The icon on the far left is for your clothing.

You can always right-click on an item if you want to examine it, or if you want to use a special function of it.

Turning on suit sensors is usually a good idea when a round starts.

You right-click on objects to examine them or to pick up items.

For messing with containers, doors, and machines, you'll need to double-click.

But be careful - make sure you have an empty hand.

Clicking in this game can be dangerous. You've got to pay attention.

*"Oh, you like that? Huh?"* *"Fuck you!"*

Good thing he was wearing a hard suit.

I could have ruined someone else's game by being incompetent, but luckily that didn't happen this time.

It takes getting used to, but you need to be careful where you're clicking.

*discord* Uhhhh...

The buttons on the bottom right determine how you interact with people.

So you might be hugging them instead of punching them.

The others are for other item interactions.

It's hard to be precise and pretty clunky at times, but for a game like this, it works fine.

You just need to get used to it.

Some item use can get pretty tricky.

I'd say one of the first true tests of your mastery of the system, is being able to light a cigarette without lighting your head on fire.

You'll feel pretty satisfied with the results.

You use the arrow keys to move around, and you might have some special actions up in that object tab.

Alright, so how's this game played?

The short answer is: do your job.

I'll show you an example round.

In this round, I'm playing Officer Wilson, and while he may not know the station, he knows the streets.

Space security means arresting wrongdoers.

Not murdering them.

At least until things get really bad and the captain orders you to shoot on sight.

But this time the clown has been slipping me and other officers all round,

and someone has reported him breaking into research and development.

But he keeps giving us the slip.

*Clown noises*

He's brought in to be interrogated by the head of security and some other officers, when he finally gets arrested.

The captain got a report there could be a traitor on the station, and apparently he's number one suspect.

This is pretty routine.

Being the clown means annoying as many people as you can and tripping them on banana peels.

Got him.

But then a report comes in that someone suspicious have been prowling around the station, disabling security devices.

So me and a cyborg patrol the east side, but wait! Who's this man in the Chapel?

I see. Probable cause.

And he's running for it. I've got my space taser; time for space law.

*Space boys, space boys, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when space comes for you*

This time the captain showed up to the interrogation, but thanks to a weaselly space lawyer,

we have to settle it in space court now.

The audience gets popcorn and security is pretty tight.

This is because space court is like Christmas for space unabombers.

But then court takes a recess due to the outbreak of a deadly disease.

*Screaming* But then court takes a recess due to the outbreak of a deadly disease.

I catch it trying to keep order in Medical.

People's skin is literally melting off of their bodies.

Oh. Oh, it's a little late for this.

The surgeons don't know what's happening to me, but the disease may have given me mutant powers, so I decide to try that out.

I just shape-shifted into someone else.

This disease is pretty strange.

But it gets even stranger when I decide to burst into flames and melt all of my flesh off, killing me instantly.

So now I'm a ghost, watching the station descend into pure chaos.

*Wilhelm* So now I'm a ghost, watching the station descend into pure chaos.

So now I'm a ghost, watching the station descend into pure chaos.

But then a geneticist takes my body, regenerates my nerve tissue, and brings me back from the dead as a living skeleton.

So now I'm Officer Wilson the undead cop, and I don't need to eat or drink anymore.

But this station needs to be cleaned up of crime.

And I say "ACK ACK" a lot now because I'm a skeleton.

It's hard for the force to accept the new me.

I pick up bad habits.

*"Hit that nigga!"* *"Mackey, no!"*

But then the station passes through a radiation belt,

which kills or maims enough of the survivors to justify the shuttle being called.

The shuttle takes off, the survivors escape and that's one round of "Space Station 13" completed.

That was a story from ONE GAME.

And that was just my perspective.

If I'd been someone like a janitor, I'd just be trying to keep the floors clean of infected blood, not arresting vandals.

And that's the beauty of the game: everyone has a job, and most of them are super fleshed out.

Even jobs you don't think are that vital, like a janitor, can actually do a lot more than you think.

The more the station looks like a shithole, the more people will act like it.

So a janitor is the first line of defense against complete anarchy.

*"Chaos is a ladder."*

So your objective in the game is to do your job.

And some stations even throw in more specific sub objectives.

I would call the setting "a realistic cartoon".

That sounds weird, so let me explain that.

You're affected by hunger, temperature, and could be depressurized,

but there's a threat of a space wizard from the wizard federation showing up.

He might animate objects to come alive and attack you.

You can adjust the pressure of oxygen canisters and other equipment,

and there's even fully functional atmospheric simulations.

But the ship's surgeon could be a vampire.

Watch out for the wormholes that break the space-time continuity.

And the people in the chapel sacrificing a human being to save them from the wormholes.

Wait, it worked?


I guess security doesn't allow ape deities.

But if you're good at electronics, feel free to rewire the station.

But what about playing the bad guys?

I know about that too, because I'm a bad guy.

Speaking of which, let me just break the flow of the video by shilling this product I found.

Hey, what's up guys, you need to check this out!

You could be giving money right now to people who got rejected from Buzzfeed to send you bobblehead shit every month.


I've personally selected all these items, guys.

You can get a 2% discount if you use the code EHMAYSI at checkout.

How about a straight-up advertisement?

Back to the video.

So during character setup, most stations will allow someone to opt into an antagonist role.

These can range from traitors to aliens to malfunctioning AI, so every round feels really different with what you're facing.

One round might involve cultists. You'll get a surreal mystery like "The King in Yellow".

Maybe the ship AI has some new laws, or is missing some, and is tired of you asking to open all the goddamn doors.

These rounds are like "2001" if HAL 9000's lines were written by a Straw Poll.

"Open the doors."

"Jews are not humans and they breathe liquid plasma through their skin."

There are changelings based off "The Thing",

xenomorphs from "Alien", the lists really just go on.

And if you haven't noticed by now, the game really is a casserole of sci-fi games and movies.

It's pretty cool.

So besides environmental dangers, you don't know who's a traitor or a monster.

Guess an easy way to sum up the game would be saying that it's like Trouble in Terrorist Town, but you get a job.

As far as I know, you can't turn into a monkey in that game.

Let me know if you can.

Be careful...

Having villains makes the round very paranoid.

You have to wonder if a blackout is legitimate, or if someone's about to do something very naughty to the survivors.

The interface is simple, but the gameplay is immeasurably complex.

For the price of free, I recommend anyone to come try this out.

Just make sure to read the server rules, have the wiki open in another tab, and play assistant for your first few rounds.

I'm not kidding, read the server rules.

Use the out-of-character chat if you have any questions.

That being said, there's some reason this game remains pretty unknown, besides the cancerous installation method.

Rounds can start pretty smooth, but they can slow to a crawl performance-wise. It's typically not the server, it's usually BYOND.

Now, I don't use Patreon, but if you've ever wanted to give me money,

give it to a "Space Station 13" server instead.

Besides the fact they're working on new content for basically free,

they're also doing it on a very very shitty engine.

There have been a lot of efforts to remake the game or at least move it off the engine, but none have succeeded so far.

Even if I'm not sure this would work in first person, this is really cool: someone got this working in "Doom".

I know some of these are still kicking, but at this rate Dean Hall is gonna rip off-

I mean, uh, be INSPIRED by "Space Station 13".

No worries. He loves his games

I only played the DayZ mod, but I've heard, uh... interesting things about the standalone.

Another big barrier is the game itself.

It's just a lot to take in.

Someone can find a job they love, but they could get murdered early, or inconvenienced.

Some people can't cope with this.

Since we were talking about perspectives. I decided to bring in this expert player.

He's played a lot longer than I have.

As an expert, he's going to present a gameplay option that isn't listed, but one he's mastered, so let's get onto that.

RUSH: "Today, we will be playing a very stimulating role,"

RUSH: "far as a lot of thought put into it."

RUSH: "And it is extremely helpful to the station and probably the most vital role to the station."

RUSH: "Alright."

RUSH: "Once the game starts up, we'll do our prep work."

RUSH: "This here is the GPS locater. It's very important, so rename it to something that makes it easy to identify you."

RUSH: "Now that we're on the asteroid, our road to the Elite Four will begin."

RUSH: "But we'll need to get our EVA suit and an oxygen tank."

RUSH: "And then we'll be ready to mine."

RUSH: "As you can see, mining is an extremely mentally stimulating and exhausting task,"

RUSH: "which is why it is deemed the thinking man's job in "Space Station 13"."

RUSH: "Now that we've got our ore, we'll need to smelt it down in order for us to make money."

RUSH: "These funds will buy us our starter Pokemon."

RUSH: "Once smelted, take the ore with you and leave it wherever. We don't care about it anymore."

RUSH: "And no one else does!"

RUSH: "So find your way to the nearest ATM to put all that money you made into your wallet."

RUSH: "Sometimes, people ambush you and try to distract you from your path."

RUSH: "In this case, it was easier to simply fulfill their devilish request than deal with the fallout."

RUSH: "With the money we have, we can purchase kinetic gun, which is the best starter Pokemon."

RUSH: "Don't forget those pokeballs and max revives!"

RUSH: "Next, we need to find the Pokemon, and as you might have noticed, there's no grass on this asteroid."

RUSH: "Luckily for us, however, a fellow trainer ran into two Pokemon, and was in trouble."

RUSH: "I suggest using Kinetic Gun's Bubble Beam to wear down the enemy Pokemon."

RUSH: "Once the Pokemon have been defeated, use the max revival and catch them in your pokeball."

RUSH: "Now then, if we want to challenge the other trainers, we'll need a larger team."

RUSH: "So now we can use our Pokemon to help us catch even more."

RUSH: "Don't forget to skin your Pokemon; it grows back, and it functions as a nice trophy."

RUSH: "What do we do with the Pokemon, you might ask? Well, that is up to the player."

RUSH: "And that is how you become the Pokemon master."

Okay, let's talk spin-offs. If you like the mechanics, but want a different setting, there's some options.

I didn't record a whole lot of this station, because...

*Loud Nigra*

If you wanted something more combat focused, there's Colonial Marines.

This one is based in the "Aliens" universe, and you could play as the Marines or the Aliens themselves.

The Marines try to secure the planet, and the Aliens try to kill the Marines and take their ship. And just like the base game, you don't know what to expect.

One thing I found interesting is that the alien lifecycle in this is based off of "AVP Extinction".

I don't think many people played that game.

Even though it could be pretty one-sided at times, I find this to be a really good game mode.

The point-and-click combat's still pretty clunky, but they nailed everything else.

There are respawns, but they're pretty long, so expect a challenge.

There's also Fallout 13, which is set in the events of "Fallout: New Vegas". It's... okay.

You still get attacked by cazadores all the time.

The game is clunky and typically slow-paced, but it just has a depth you're not getting in another game.

It really goes to show what a community could put together when they're not screaming at each other.

But screaming is part of the process for getting new features into this game.

But it's free, so give it a whirl.

Looking through comments, you guys wanted me to do this one the most.

So I'm taking it off the list. I'm also altering it a bit.

So let me know what you want to see for the next two. I might do some Halloween things earlier, but I can't be sure yet.

In 2125, I was on a mining colony

On Mars

Just a quiet, backwater facility

Among the stars

And then one day, I was minding my own business, I was mining my own ore

And there he was

Space Assho~ole

In a truck... ♪

Hey, good job VG Station. You really pulled through.

The Description of Space Station 13 Review