Table of Contents
Welcome to Acquired Tastes, our bi-weekly newsletter dedicated to the fascinating individuals in the Hashtag Survival community!
Today, we spotlight Echoe, a survival game aficionado and member of the Unicorn Brigade!
"Who am I", is a question I have asked myself many times.
A question that is not easily answered, or so I have been telling myself. The best way to describe me would require me to go back to the very first seconds of my... Nah, just kidding 😂
I decided to plop my head out and greet the world back in the summer of 1987. Even tho I wasn´t a planned child or even a wanted one, my mom decided to keep me. There is a phrase common in Sweden for such children, they are called "Dandelion children", dandelions being a weed that no one wants, but has a way to grow even in the harshest of conditions. And that I did, grew up in some harsh conditions. Like many kids before me, and many of the kids that came after. I struggled to find my place in the world. A bit of an outsider no matter where I went. Never fit in, never really knowing who I was, but never afraid to be alone or to go my own way.
While growing up I always had an easier time identifying and connecting with my elders rather than people my age. This led to me getting a healthy dose of that "Ye ´ol fashioned way of thought" - you know, if you want something done right, then you better do it yourself. Especially from my grandfather (on my mother's side) a real woodsman and DIY man of the highest caliber. Since I had such a troubled family picture, he took me under his wing and guided me through life.
It was he that taught me everything I needed, to know my way around a home, the woods, farming, fishing, hunting, camping, being self-reliant, and finding joy in the smallest of things. He allowed me to make my own mistakes, and to learn from them. His best life lesson, which I still carry with me to this day was: "Fill your life backpack with skills, experience, and knowledge, they are easy to carry with you and don't weigh you down."
Sadly he passed away in the early 2000s but I keep his memory with me as I explore the path of life.
The concept of survival has always fascinated me ever since I was a young boy. Not only from a gaming point of view but from real life just as much. Having spent a lot of time in the woods hunting and fishing while growing up, growing fond of the stillness and calm that the woods provided. It made sense to learn what else the woods and the wilds could provide and how best to use it.
In my early days of gaming, the genre of survival wasn't fleshed out like it is today. Survival back then was as simple as "Don't get hit by the enemies or you will die" and there wasn't much concerning resource management either.
But after having played FPS, RTS, and RPGs for many many years, I started to realize that those genres were starting to lose their glamour and didn't do it for me any longer. This led me to try whatever game genre I could get my hands on, eventually, I played my first game in the survival genre (can't remember which) and I haven't regretted or looked back since.
Today I don't play as much as I used to, simply because time and real-life issues don't allow it. But as a way to bring me back into the joy and warmth of gaming, me and Onikage have a little side-project going, which we call "Unicorn Princess GOTM - Game of the Month" in which we pick and play a different game from the survival genre each month and post videos on youtube.
The project is still in the very early stages, but we are having a lot of fun. Feel free to check it out, and join us when we play
Check Out Some Games I Love!
- Tenchu - Tenchu is the stealth lovers dream, where you assume the role of a ninja in 16th-century Japan. Stealth is a very important element in the game, where you will learn to love but also come to hate to avoid detection. The game perspective is third-person. The series has you play as different characters with different weapons and playstyles. The first game was originally released back in February 1998 for the PlayStation. By the third game released in 2003, it was also ported over to Xbox. I would argue that these games were among the first souls-like games that FromSoftware released, and the closest thing to them today is FromSoftware´s game Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice - which still doesn't really come close. All the games have their merit and have earned and deserve to be played. A true stealth fest, challenging, but oh-so satisfying. A simple sample video of all the games, from some random YouTuber.
- Fallout 1+2 - The early games had an isometric slanted top-down perspective and turn-based combat using action points, which was unfortunately changed in the later games. Developed by Black Isle Studios and published by Interplay Entertainment, it was a real labor of love that is felt all through the game and has made Fallout so near and dear to my heart. It has a bit of everything, RPG, strategy, exploration, and very lore-heavy. The early games had so many challenges and opportunities for fun, various ways to build your character, and different ways to plan your combat using their action point system. I would argue that the first two games are a must-play, and the third and fourth are optional but still playable. The series is lore-heavy and has sooo much story that it's easy to get lost.
- F.E.A.R ( First Encounter Assault Recon ) - This is the kind of game that can't be explained and simply MUST be experienced firsthand. Beware tho, this game will make you scream like a little girl. So best to be prepared with an extra pair of undies. The story revolves around the fictional F.E.A.R. unit, an elite group in the U.S. Army tasked with investigating supernatural phenomena. After a secret research program goes wrong and a dangerous and powerful psychic is unleashed, F.E.A.R is called in. The atmosphere of the game is heavily influenced by Japanese horror. Another vital element is the game's AI, employing a never-before-used technique to give hostile NPC an unusually broad range of actions in response to whatever the player is doing.
- SportsBar VR - Do you enjoy shooting pool, throwing darts, or engaging in a series of different bar games, but hate to have to go to an actual bar and be around other people? (I do!) Well, look no further, one of the absolute best pool experiences that can be found and enjoyed with friends. The realism is spot on, enough to the point where you can forget that it's in VR, want to lean on the table and risk falling on your face IRL. Many are the nights that I have spent in "the bar" shooting pool and laughing with friends, it's the only bar I ever visit or ever will visit.
- SnowRunner/MudRunner - I'm not much for racing games as I find them to be far too repetitive and boring. But Snow/Mud Runner is anything but repetitive and boring. Face off against the toughest and roughest nature and go off-roading. Overcome some of the most extreme open environments, almost like a puzzle game trying to figure out how to get across from point A to point B. There´s a whole bunch of challenges to do, a whole bunch of different vehicles to drive, and the scenery is magical. Two of the absolute best driving sims out there.
Things I Love
- Rescue/Adopt Your Pets
You will never have such a loyal and loving friend. Going to a "pound" or visiting any of the thousands of websites from which you can adopt or rescue a cat or dog, is a life choice you won't regret. Far too many people only want to have a cute pup or kitten and shower them with love as long as they are babies- only to discard them or dump them as they grow older. But these animals deserve to love their entire life, so consider adopting/rescuing, providing a forever home to one of the many animals in need. I have two American Staffordshire Terriers that I adopted when they were around one year old. I haven't regretted it one bit, not one second -they get spoiled and showered in love, and they give back every little bit of love and more.
It doesn't matter that much which one of their many models, find the one that best suits your needs. I am partial to their SUV model called the Forester (I currently own 2 of them), due to it fitting my every need: real 4-wheel drive, great ground clearance, reliable, durable, spacious, robust, and what a joy to drive all year around! 🕶️ You can't go wrong with a Subaru.
They’re so cool that Subaru even gives us lifestyle badges
- Revolution Race Clothing
Swedish brand of outdoor clothing that works well when trekking through the woods, skiing down a mountain or just taking a stroll down the street. They look stylish, are comfortable to wear, durable, and are of high quality.
- Joe Robinet (Youtube channel)
Joe is just a regular Canadian guy who enjoys spending time outdoors: backpacking, bushcraft, and overnight camping trips. He's also made quite a following on YouTube by bringing his camera with him on these adventures. He doesn't classify himself as a self-proclaimed "survivalist" or "bushcraft master", however, he is the kind of guy that you´d like to have with you IF and when you're either in the woods or TSHtF (The Shit Hits the Fan.) He does a really good job explaining and describing his take on how to get things done, what to keep in mind, and simple yet practical "Good to know" stuff for the common folk. He started on YT some +13 years ago with short simple videos, which have later evolved into much longer, more in-depth videos where he brings his trusty dog with him and spends the night in the wild.
Highly recommended to check his videos out, feel free to subscribe to his channel while you're at it.
- Gränsfors Bruk Sweden - Axes
Gränsfors Bruk is a Swedish metal forging company with a rich history reaching back as far as the year 1902 when the company was founded. (Really, it dates back to the year 1868 when the two brothers Johan and Anders Pettersson moved to the tiny village of Gränsfors in Sweden and started making scythes for farming and axes for forestry.) It was the younger brother Anders who later founded the company in 1902 that got the official name Gränsfors Bruk. For over 100 years they have built their company and have been making hand-forged, high-quality axes for every need. Sweden has over the years seen many axe-forging companies rise and fall and since 2014 the only remaining companies that are still alive and well are: Gränsfors Bruk, Hultafors, and S.A Wetterlings
All are makers of fine, well-crafted axes that every survivalist, bush crafter, woodsman, or camper can proudly carry, knowing that in their hands, they are holding a quality piece of Swedish history. While all their products are money well spent, my two best recommendations are the: Gränsfors Outdoor Axe OR the Gränsfors Small Forest Axe.
Editor's Note: Echoe is a very weird dude, disregard the following. 😂 🖤
!! Bonus recommendation !!
Jordan a.ka Sifner, the big man himself!
I always thought that I was well-versed when it came to survival games and the genre as a whole. But that drastically changed the day I first met Sifner via Discord. He shattered the whole picture that I had of my prowess in the survival genre. I remember in the early days I even went out of my way to try and find the most obscure survival titles to try and stump him, but alas to no avail. Sifner already had them under watch and "neatly" cataloged, so here I was trying to stump him by laying down "2-pairs or three of a kind" only to have him lay down "full houses or straight-flushes" EVERY TIME!!
But I can't be mad at him- with his gentle manners, friendly way, and open sharing of his true passion for survival games it's hard to see him as anything other than a true friend.
This is also the reason why I gladly became a part of his subscription-based "Unicorn Brigade" on Discord. 🦄🦄🦄