My husband and I are one of those couples that outsiders say helps them not to lose faith in the great love. It’s a bit corny, but we just get along very well. And yet, I’m starving him. Very slowly, up there in the radioactively contaminated wasteland where he is repairing the oxygen filter of our bunker. The food supply is as depleted as my faithful husband will be when he climbs back after his work is done. If he still manages to do so, he will dutifully hang his protective suit on the coat rack and go to bed with a growling stomach. I don’t hear the growling, he suffers silently.
Not having a growling stomach is Aaron, our undersized German shepherd in real life as well as in the game. When I recreated my family in Sheltered’s character editor, I was also able to add a pet that, while not a full-fledged playable character, at least provides some support. I don’t even remember which one exactly… no matter, its mere presence is already bonus enough for me in a game where you have to face survival in the post-apocalypse. The bunker would be sadder without Aaron, for whom extra small air shafts were built in so that some poor graphic designer didn’t have to animate a dog using a ladder.
The fact that Pixel-Aaron doesn’t suffer from hunger is because I always feed him before any other character. Logically, this doesn’t make the slightest sense, because his presence brings me by far the least in this game. And of course, in real life, I would always put my husband’s life above our dog’s (well, Aaron knows a lot of tricks, but reading isn’t one of them yet). But not in Sheltered. And I think I can even explain why.
The dog whines. And quite pathetically at that. While the human characters signal hunger through a colored bar, a whining whine sounds as soon as the dog does not feel 100% comfortable. Conditioned as I am as a faithful pet owner, I can not possibly bear! That’s why I told the character who bears my husband’s name to fill the food bowl with the contents of the last can of food, thus possibly signing his own death warrant. But the main thing is that our four-legged Begeliter no longer whines.
I can only hope that one day I will not really be faced with the decision to save my husband or my whimpering dog, because obviously I cannot be relied upon after all.
Sheltered is a survival management simulation developed by Unicube and Team17, in which the objective is to expand a bunker and search the environment for loot. Since 2016, the game has spread across various platforms.
This post is also available in: German