Simple, easy, popular

New wave of .io video games has captivated a range of students

Odysseas Nikas

CLICKING AWAY. Jaden Lynch, right, plays a round of in the cafeteria with Connor Smith, center, and Ben Wolf. Playing in squad mode connects many students, who will gather in groups to do so. Last year, students playing using the library computers became such a problem that the librarians were forced to make a rule against games on library computers.

Caledonia Abbey, Midway Reporter

Agar,” “Slither,” “Shell Shock” and “surviv.”

Colorful dots, glowing snakes, exploding eggs and 2D battle royale.

The world of basic, yet undeniably charming internet browser games seems to have found its niche among students at Lab.

Equipped with laptops and an internet connection, students of all grade levels can be found in clusters, paired with the furious tapping of keys and clicks.

The .io domain, standing for “input/output” has become host to a series of online games popular among students.

Danny Han, a sophomore and peer-deemed surviv all-star with a record of 28 kills in a single game, said that his interest in these games began back in middle school.

“I would always get my homework done early, and I’d be really bored, so my friends and I would just play different io games together, and ‘surviv’ is the only game that we’re still playing.”

“,” the first of many .io games to rise to fame features a cell — blob really — that, under control of the player, floats around endlessly absorbing small dots and other players to increase in mass and eventually become the reigning cell.That is, until it gets eaten by an even bigger, better blob.

The simple premise, easy controls and low commitment made “” popular among students of all ages.

During “’s” prime, around its release in 2015, one could find more of these colorful blobs floating around the computer lab than scratch projects and coding.

I started playing one-on-one with my friend, and we bacame super competitive, so I started playing a lot and soon I surpassed him and everyone else in the school.

— Omar Siddiqui

“,” on the other hand, pays homage to the popular digital game from the ‘90s, “Snake,” but with a twist: shiny dots and brightly colored snakes bent on cutting each other off. “Slither” was next in the line of .io games to reign popular among students, especially in middle school, but never quite reached the level of its predecessor.

The games that have been more recently captivating students are “surviv. io” and “”

Of these games, “surviv” in particular has reached a point of popularity so extreme that the school’s librarians have had to implement a “no surviv” rule for school computers. It’s virtually an epidemic.

“Surviv” is a graphically simple, 2D, battle royale-type game with a similar structure to the popular video game “Fortnite.” Up to 70 individual players can be in a solo game, and even more in “squad mode” which allows parties of people to play together as a team in the same game. The last person or team standing finally reaches “victory royale.”

It’s fast paced to match the intensity with which people play, and most rounds take less than 5 or 10 minutes.

A player’s character travels around the forest-set map, into mansions, cottages, outhouses and secret underground bunkers collecting weapons, ammunition and health boosts until they encounter another. Then the fight really begins.

Danny Han

“My friends and I play quite a bit, we have a group chat, ‘surviv. ibros,’ so when one of us wants to play we’re, like, ‘Yeah I’ve gotcha, I’ll play with you,’” said Sam DuBose, a senior with a self-proclaimed passion for “surviv.”

Groups of friends playing “squads,” can be seen all around the school: the Caf, library and even in class, as subtle as the “mute” button, discreet clicks of the mouse and stifled yells of “I was just about to get that kill” allow for.

This year, “,” has been gaining popularity at Lab and has potential to be the .io game of the future, maybe even toppling “surviv” from its pedestal.

Having also acted as an inspiration for group chats, the first-person-shooter — or rather, first-egg-shooter — consists of about a dozen eggs per game.

They are armed with various weapons, running around a blocky 3D map searching for the other eggs to scramble, poach or fry with a well-aimed shot and the click of a button.

“I started playing one-on-one with my friend, and we became super competitive, so I started playing a lot and soon I surpassed him and everyone else in the school,” Omar Siddiqui, the sophomore “Shellshock” champ, with an impressive 39-kill streak, said humbly.

The free-for-all style, infinite lives and private-server option, which allows friends to join a game with just each other, makes for especially riveting competition among peers.

With the glow of the screen reflected in their eyes and the deft maneuvering of the trackpad perfected through hours and hours of practice, one can’t help but admire the passion with which people play, and the jovial intensity of, well, a teenager playing a video game.