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A previous zombie survival tournament Unturned reached a new altitude for no other reason than that it is free and pleasurable

Congrats on one of Steam’s initial viral hits.

Unturned, a 2014 zombie survival shooter, is trending, breaking eight years of concurrent player records for a whopping 93,161 players on October 4th. It currently has over 50,000 players, with a peak this weekend of over 60,000, trying to match its launch peak of over 60,000. (Several more thanks to SteamDB for the statistical data.)

Why would this happen, you could want to know. Is there a major update? A showcase from an established Twitch streamer? None of this. It’s free, enjoyable, and has been consistently updated again for the past eight years. You can play it competitively, cooperatively, and alone. That’s about all. That’s all the knowledge.

It is, even so, notable. Unturned has risen back into the top 15 most-played games on Steam, trying to compete with anime-boosted Cyberpunk 2077, Vin Diesel-endorsed ARK: Survival Evolved, and the perennially popular Grand Theft Auto V.

Unturned was first released in 2014, a cute little Unity engine project by Smartly Dressed Games, aka 16-year-old Nelson, and blew up to a shocking (at the time) 24 million get.

Unturned is completely free to play, but work is supported by the purchase of in-game cosmetics such as a gold tophat and katana or a biohazard suit. Even years later, the community even now seems to like him, with people who post bugs to the Steam forums with signoffs like “Nelson pls fix when u can.” Of course, there is also some rudeness, but still far less than in the forums of many other games.

Back in 2016-17, PC Gamer wrote a whole book regarding Unturned, and that material is still important today. Unturned: How a 16-year-survival old’s game racked up 24 million get (opens in new tab) and the follow-up, a year later, What it’s like creating one of Steam’s most popular games only at 20 years old.

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