We spoke to Dr. Wasteland, the heroic healer who became a legend in DayZ’s early days

We spoke to Dr. Wasteland, the heroic healer who became a legend in DayZ's early days

Saving lives instead of taking them.

From its beginning as a mod for Bohemia Interactive’s realistic shooter Arma 2, zombie survival sim DayZ was defined by the tales of its players. In forum posts and game diaries, they recorded gripping stories of life and death. When we spoke to DayZ originator Dean Hall in May of 2012, he said, “I guess I’ve always been really passionate about this whole idea of creating persistent worlds, and real, true emergent gameplay. And letting the players come up with the stories. Storytelling is ancient, you know?”

Some players considered the story of Dr. Wasteland a myth, too good to be true. In the 225 square kilometres of zombie-infested death called Chernarus, plenty of other players turned on each other, killing for the tools they needed to survive. Who would believe there was one player out there risking his own neck, rescuing countless others before they bled out and lost everything they’d collected? And yet, it was true.

Stories of his dramatic rescues filled forums, inspiring others to follow. The growing “white list” of medics let DayZ’s intrepid survivors know who to trust out there in the wilderness. At the top of the list was the first: Dr. Wasteland, MD.

This is Tales from the Hard Drive: PC Gamer’s documentary series about the kinds of stories that take on life outside the games that birthed them. Each episode is focused on a real story that has become enshrined as gaming folklore, told and retold across decades on message boards and Discord servers and skeptical Reddit threads. These tall tales represent what we love most about PC gaming: the ways truly passionate players can imprint their own personalities on our shared virtual worlds.

Tales from the Hard Drive demanded a a world-class voice, which is why we brought on Lenval Brown, the incredible narrator of Disco Elysium: The Final Cut to help us tell them.

In Episode 1 we told the story of Angwe, also known as the Terror of Menethil Harbor. Angwe was World of Warcraft’s infamous serial killer: an unstoppable rogue who went on a months-long ganking spree that became the stuff of forum legend. 

In Episode 2 we met the Fuel Rats, players of Elite Dangerous who help out pilots who run out of fuel in the deep dark. And given that it’s set in a replica of the Milky Way 100,000 light years across, in Elite Dangerous the dark gets real deep.

Make sure to subscribe to PC Gamer’s YouTube channel to catch the rest of Tales From the Hard Drive rolling out this summer. 

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