Hope you like chipped paint textures, and the colour grey. Because you’ll be seeing a lot of them in Deadliest Catch: The Game. Oh, and crabs. Hundreds and hundreds of near-identical crabs, which you must sort by hand, examining each one in turn before either throwing it back in the sea, or condemning it to an icy hold to await its demise on the plate of a hungry businessman. Because DC:TG is a game about commercial crab fisheries, and while it’s honestly quite rubbish, it’s got a place in my heart.
The context, for me, is medical. Last year I was diagnosed with ADHD, after my wife started working from home and saw just what a nightmare I had trying to concentrate on… anything, really. I was tested by a doctor and prescribed Elvanse, an amphetamine derivative that has, if I’m honest, made me a much more stable, functional human being. It’s been a good change for me. But it all started with Deadliest Catch: The Game.
The first time I dosed with Elvanse, you see, I decided to test how it would affect my level of focus by playing the most crushingly repetitive game imaginable. And no matter how much I might enjoy crabs (the answer is “loads”), it seemed that this salt-stained simulator would be just what the figurative doctor ordered. I played, and it was boring, and yet I kept at it for four unbroken hours, counting crabs with the serenity and alertness of a steely-eyed missile man. I then wrote about the experience, in a post with the most Vice headline I have ever concocted.
So, is the game any good when you’re not coming up on a small dose of extremely pure speed? Probably not at all. It certainly has little in common with the roughneck drama of the TV show that shares its name, and while the demo I played has now been embiggened into a full game, its Steam reviews would seem to suggest that if anything, it has become more monotonous and grindy. Still, I’ll always remember that time I spent with my boson, who was – like so many other things on that boat – a crab.