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Lethal Company’s new arachnophobia mode is a marvel of modern gaming

Beware the SPIDER

Two workers, each wearing full body protective suits, stand on the surface of a stark and slightly wooded alien moon depicted in low-poly graphics in Lethal Company. Image: Zeekerss
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

Spiders are a popular video game enemy that have the unfortunate side effect of triggering arachnophobia, a common fear. What’s a developer to do if their creative vision requires a big scary spider, but they don’t want to make their game unplayable to those who can’t stand the eight-legged little guys? Arachnophobia modes are not unprecedented; Grounded includes a whole slider that makes spiders increasingly less spider-y. But Lethal Company’s new arachnophobia mode offers an elegant solution that is making players marvel at the ingenuity.

Instead of replacing the spiders with orbs, removing them, or giving them a whole new model, developer Zeekerss found a clever alternative. Spiders are replaced with the word “spider,” which is nice, because you know exactly what you’re looking at.

Incredible stuff! The new arachnophobia mode does nothing to make the moons less deadly; you’re still probably going to die horribly while trying to scavenge enough scrap to pay the bills. But at the very least, you can rest assured knowing that you’ll die with dignity. Phobias and triggers are an underappreciated accessibility issue in gaming, and it’s very cool to see a developer tackle the problem with an unorthodox solution. I’m a big fan of the spider scuttling around a wall, so you can only see a menacing PIDER.

Lethal Company has blown up on Twitch and other social media platforms due to the ridiculousness of the gameplay. You can die in any manner of horrible ways, from being sucked up into a giant fan and turned to mist, to being mauled by a hideous beast. While the game is in the horror genre, it’s perfect at generating hijinks, which means that even those who don’t want to play it themselves might enjoy catching a stream. Now, even arachnophobes can get in on the fun — just keep an eye out for that menacing red text.

The next level of puzzles.

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