I started-up DayZ, joined a US server (the Aus and NZ servers were full) and was ready to go.
It was night time. Real night time. No moon. I could hear the waves crashing on the beach and see stars in the sky. I heard ominous music. That was it. It looked like this:
Hmm... What was I to do? I tried waiting for daytime (that's what you do in Minecraft.) It didn't work. After about a minute it was as dark as ever.
I looked in the menu options to find the key to turn-on my torch. There didn't seem to be a key for that. I looked in my kit. I had ten flares. I threw one. I went from no light to so much light that I was clearly a sitting duck. Having read about zombies and bandits, I was concerned. I tried pressing all the keys on the keyboard to find the key that would turn-on my torch. I didn't find the key for "torch." Hmm... That's unusual.
I picked up the flare. I dropped the flare. I picked up the flare. Was I suppose to walk around with a flare in my hand like a complete chump? There didn't seem to be any other option. I couldn't see a thing without a flare.
Off I went, knowing full well that I'd be dead in about thirty seconds time. I crossed a railway line. I found a derelict building. See Exhibit B, Derelict Building:
I threw a flare and picked it up to carry with me. I walked away from the building. The terrain changed from flat to a hill slope. I walked up the hill. The flare went out. "Okay," I thought. "I can deal with this. I'll just walk in the dark. I'll be fine."
I walked in the dark. I saw a building. It was the same building as Exhibit B. Unknowingly, I had double-backed on myself.
Perplexion set in. I couldn't walk in the dark. I didn't want to walk with a flare. What was I to do?
I stumbled back to the railway-line. See Exhibit C, Railway-line:
"Okay," I thought. "I'll walk along the railway line." At least I could still see that in the pitch black. After about a minute, I saw a flare! (It wasn't mine!)
I ran to the other flare. I was really excited. I had been wandering around for about 20 minutes with basically nothing happening. Finally, there were people! I was going to say "hello." Sure, they might kill me, but at least I wouldn't die alone.
I was so close. Then I heard a horrible sound. Oh my God, zombies! It was freaking scary. I didn't know where they were but I knew they were close. I fumbled for my pistol. This was going to be nasty. A zombie charged up on me. I fired away. It went down. Then another came up. I missed and it swiped at me. A few more shots though and it went down and all went quiet.
I decided to crouch-down and move slowly towards the flare. That way no-one would hear me. I'd be like a ninja. After all, there might have been more zombies out there and I was still a long way from the flare. I needed to be careful, the second zombie was almost the death of me.
But crouching is slow. After a minute I still felt like I was a million miles away. I decided to make a dash for it. Surely those two zombies were the last. And if not, I could make it to the light before they caught me. I would be like a cheetah.
I was not like a cheetah. I was a wounded and imprudent sucker. Two more zombies heard me and came for me. This time I was too slow. They knocked me prone and started to feast on my entrails. But it wasn't the zombies that really killed me. What really killed me was my impatience and a fool's hope.
My first play of DayZ was confusing, short and ultimately tragic. The only goal I'd had - to reach the flare - was never realised. But I'll be back and I'll have a torch.