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Grounded's Arachnophobia Slider Turns Spiders Into Cute Floating Blobs

Screenshot: Obsidian Entertainment, Gif: Kotaku

We learned back in April that Grounded, the new miniaturized survival game from Obsidian Entertainment, would include an “arachnophobia mode” for players with an aversion to spiders. Let’s take a look at how this accessibility option works now that the game is out in the wild.

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Upon booting up Grounded for the first time, the game will immediately let you know about the slider it included for arachnophobes. Spiders represent the greatest challenge in the game at the moment, after all, so it’s great that the devs are immediately up front about the possibility of coming face-to-face with these eight-legged freaks.

Instead of a separate mode, however, Grounded handles its spider problem with a slider. At one end of the scale, you have what we would call a “normal” spider: segmented body, fangs, a bunch of legs and eyes. But as you move to the opposite extreme, the spiders begin to lose the things that make them, well, spider-like.

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As you move the slider to the right, spiders begin to lose some of their legs, and then the rest of their appendages go away, too. Next, the fangs are deleted. Then some of the eyes are removed, the body gets different proportions, and the texture goes away. At the very end what you’re left with is essentially a floating blob, probably one of the least-threatening 3D objects you’ll find in a video game.

Despite its terrifying premise, Grounded is a pretty lighthearted game at its core. Building a base and learning to survive in a new ecosystem is the main pull, with spider battling representing just a small portion of the overall adventure. With that in mind, I think it’s great that Obsidian went above and beyond on this one feature to make sure as many people as possible can play.

While generally thought of as a matter of physical limitations, accessibility can and should encompass psychological and emotional challenges as well. It would be really cool to see more games follow Grounded’s example.

Staff Writer, Kotaku

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DISCUSSION

Keeping in mind that arachnophobia is one of the most common phobias out there, I do have to admit that I find myself saddened every time I see people speak out against spiders. I love spiders. Spiders are amazing. Most species of spider aren’t actually harmful to humans. In fact, they’re generally quite helpful around the house because they tend to keep the insect population down. They’re also very cute! Check out some photos of jumping spiders or wolf spiders. They’re fuzzy little friends and they tend to keep to themselves and not bug anyone.

I implore people who have kneejerk negative reactions to spiders to do some more research and discover how great these little guys are!