One Hour One Life is an odd survival game where the best way to explain it, is to tell a story. Before I get into the story, you have one hour to make your impact on the family you’re born into. They can be cavemen starting out or a full-on flourishing village.
Either way, you never know who your mother will be and if she’ll raise you or not. Every person is a real live player ready to help or abandon you. Here’s one of the many stories I’ve made since playing Jason Rohrer’s game, One Hour One Life.
Enter the Kato Family
My mother Angelica Kato the second, birthed a daughter, me. I’m crying and waiting to be fed, which is the defining moment of every baby’s life. Will my mother pick me up and breastfeed me or leave me to stave? An innocent vulnerable baby.
Yep, we’re going with the second option. My mother was comatose, not saying a single word, or budging a single step. What’s going on here? I didn’t find out until later that she wasn’t playing and was only a baby maker for the village.
Enter Grandpa Benny Kato
Parents in One Hour One Life will usually feed their children through breastfeeding, but other methods can work too. Anyone can feed children under a certain age by giving them food, regardless of their gender. In comes grandpa Benny Kato to the rescue!
Here I am crying, spamming the letter “F” to say I’m hungry as most babies do. In One Hour One Life, the older you are, the more you can type in-game. In this case, as a baby, you can type one individual letter.
Close to starving to death, an elder comes over to feed me some berries. Benny was in the last stage of his life with at most, 10 minutes to live. A full life is 60 minutes, one hour, with each year being a minute. Benny could have had one minute left or the full 10 for all I knew.
As a vulnerable baby with an absent mother and unable to talk, Benny was my savior. He fed me berries while keeping me company. I finally could type out, “TY” as a simple way to thank him for saving me. Preventing me from being reborn into another family as many are. He wandered off for merely a second to grab a backpack and put it on me.
Benny spent his final moments tending to me, telling me he had nothing better to do as an old man. People were busy running back and forth around us, doing who knows what. It could have been tending to a farm or building a road, I was only focused on Benny.
Benny told me,
You are the future.
At this moment I thought, Benny lived a long life, maybe he has some stories. I could write three letters by now and wrote out, “STO” “RY”. Before he likely even had the chance to read my broken English, he vanished into a pile of bones.
My mother abandoned me and the only one who cared about me was gone. Once you become an elder in One Hour One Life, you can’t have children. This makes it so a mother still has time to connect with their child and potentially give them guidance. A village is formed by a group of people, a family, not one person.
Grandpa Benny didn’t have time to teach me the way of the world. Grandpa Benny spent 50 minutes of his life building a village. And then decided with his last 10 minutes, he would spend it with me, a baby. Another player who can’t even talk or have an interesting conversation.
He could have said his goodbyes to other players he spent that time with. Maybe looked for a brother or another friend he worked with. Maybe he didn’t have any friends and lived a quiet life among the Kato family. I guess I’ll never know, but it makes you wonder.
My mother didn’t even name me, I could have been another unnamed wandering child. Benny named me Jean Kato before he passed.
Coming of age I needed to figure out what I could do to help the family. How was I going to help prolong the Kato family and make this village something special? How would I leave my impact on this world in 60 minutes? Keeping those words in mind, “Stay Alive. You are the future.”
I started to wander around the village looking for ways to be productive in my limited knowledge of the game. When out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a wooden floored area with bowls of flour and a skeleton. That skeleton was me in a previous life.
A previous life where my mother was too focused on learning how to make dough and being taught by an elder. I didn’t make it out of my infancy in that life, but I learned how to make the dough at least!
I grabbed a bowl of water and started dumping it into each bowl of flour on the floor. I felt I did something productive, even though I still couldn’t figure out what to do next. I wasn’t sure how to turn the dough into something edible and gave up.
Enter Willy Kato
I started to notice a lack of people in the village. Was the Kato family perishing? I figured I’d walk around looking for both food and others to help perhaps. I stumbled across an adult male working along a stone road. I watched for a minute as he used stone to expand the road further away from the village.
A man kept riding back and forth on a horse with a wagon attached, bringing stone to continue the road. Who knows where this road was headed, but I was intrigued. They were working on it for some reason, so one would think it was important.
The man building the road was Willy Kato. Willy wandered off for a moment to grab stew to eat. I saw this as an opportunity to get hands-on and learn how to build a road. After picking up the stone and failing to create the road, I gave up and put it back down.
I didn’t want to get in the way as Willy came back to see my failed attempt. I don’t think Willy minded the help since he told me to try again.
“Willy, I don’t know how to build the road. I’m trying,” that’s what I told him. I couldn’t figure it out and had long given up by this point. Finding your purpose in One Hour One Life is probably the most difficult part of the game. When you’re learning and everyone is in a panic to get the farm going, to make tools, etc. Not everyone has time to teach you.
Willy wasn’t one of those people. He wanted to see me learn.
He wanted me to focus but no matter how hard I tossed this rock at the floor, I couldn’t figure it out. I struggled. Willy did the first part of the job and then I’d put the rock down, completing the road. He worked on the part I couldn’t understand.
Despite my struggle and everyone being in a rush, Willy took some time out of his life to work with me. He tried to teach me and even when I couldn’t learn, he slowed down his process for me to feel useful. We worked together for a few minutes before I Googled how to build the road.
I figured it out and started filling in for Willy so he could work on other jobs. He caught me running away to eat berries and taught me that stew is better to keep ahead of your hunger. Once again, teaching me something useful.
It had been a while since I saw Willy, he must have wandered off to do something productive. Unfortunately, I only found out later on, he died to rattlesnakes. Pesky scum.
Enter Henry Kato
If you recall, a man with a wagon kept bringing Willy stone to continue the road. This man is nameless no more, this man is my great uncle, Henry Kato. Henry and I didn’t talk much, we both knew our job. I was busy building the road and he was busy bringing me stone.
I had found my purpose in One Hour One Life. Well, in this life. My purpose was to build a road for others to get around quicker. Henry appreciated me taking over for Willy and even told me at one point,
I know it’s tedious, but thank you.
I didn’t mind building the road, it was simple, and filled me with pride knowing I made a difference. Henry brought stone to other directions the road branched off in, so I worked on those too. It had been a while since I’d seen anyone.
By now, I assumed I was just so far from the village building the road and others were busy. Henry came over with his usual stone delivery. This time he stopped to talk to me, unlike his many other trips. He told me he thinks we’re the last two in the Kato family.
He told me I’m the last woman in the Kato family and if I don’t birth a daughter, we’re no more. The Kato family won’t live on. He advised me on staying full of food to have a higher chance of giving birth. Taking his advice, I also continued with my mission, building the road.
Enter Princess Kato
The sound of crying broke out and Henry rushed over. A daughter was born and I knew I wouldn’t be like my mother. This daughter was here to stay. I named her Princess, one of the first lives I survived in. It had meaning to me.
Henry was excited the Kato family would continue to live on and excitedly said, “I heard that” referring to the crying. I showed Princess around the village making sure she knew where food was and gave her clothes to keep her warm. If the Kato family was going to survive in One Hour One Life, Princess was the way.
Princess became old enough to feed herself and wandered off with a mission, whatever that must have been. Henry and I began work on a new road to the north. Why not, right?
Working away tirelessly on the road, Princess was surviving and began giving birth to other children. Somehow in all that time, I only gave birth to Princess. Princess gave birth to two daughters and three sons.
At this point, I thought back to Benny telling me, “You are the future.” He wasn’t wrong, if he didn’t step in to feed me and name me, the Kato family would have ended. I raised Princess and she raised many other children to continue the family.
Henry and I were the elders of the village by now, but he was getting old, really old. Old enough that he reminded me of Benny and that meant he didn’t have long. Henry came over to me this time without the wagon. No stone, no wagon, just an old and tired Henry.
Henry knew he was slowing down and couldn’t help me any longer. He thanked me for everything and put down all his gear, offering it to me. Half a plate of food, a knife, a backpack, and a wool hat.
Before wandering off to the nearby cemetery of bones, Henry’s last words were,
At that moment, I took a minute to just look at his pile of bones. I spent the last 30 or 40 minutes in One Hour One Life with this person. Even though we didn’t speak much, it meant something. Whoever you are Henry, I’ll remember you.
Enter Henry Kato II
I immediately heard crying and as this was at such an odd hour of the night in my time zone, I thought, “Could it be? Could that be Henry back in the family? What are the chances?” I ran over and asked if it was Henry. As if a one letter speaking baby could speak much.
Princess birthed a boy and asked me if it was Henry. I didn’t know for sure but hoped it was. Princess named her son after Henry, the man I spent most of my life building a road with. Henry’s memory shall live on.
I’m starting to get gray hair and maybe have 20 minutes left at most. The life of road building was no longer for me. I wandered around the village watching the little ones run around trying to discover their purpose in the Kato family.
Enter Emily Kato
Princess’s daughter Emily found me wandering about aimlessly. She saw the knife in my backpack and wanted it for some purpose. Maybe it was to slice mangoes for food or skin animals, I didn’t really know. However, I did know how dangerous knives are. This was the only knife in the village and I knew you could easily kill others with it.
Why should I trust Emily, she could stab me immediately and the rest of the family. One Hour One Life, all it takes is mere minutes for everything to change. Imagine how much can go right or wrong in a full hour. In my case, it all went wrong in mere seconds.
Something important to know in One Hour, One Life is in order to drop an item, you right click the floor when you’re holding it. I decided, sure, I’ll give the knife to Emily, I’ll trust her. Worst case scenario, I’m going to die soon anyway.
I take the knife out of my backpack and right click the floor under Emily to drop my knife. Little did I know,
I Stabbed Emily Kato
Emily ran off with a stab wound, bleeding out of her stomach, yelling,
Grandma stabbed me! Grandma stabbed me!
I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know where bandages were, I didn’t know what happened. The knife was bloody, I could barely move, multiple people saw it. I immediately apologized and said I did it by accident.
Emily had already run off and didn’t hear me apologize. Princess knew it was an accident and the rest of the children did too. I ran around frantically looking for Emily, shouting out, “Do we have bandages?”
Another granddaughter of mine apparently found them and healed Emily. Whew, everything was okay. I kept looking for Emily to give her the knife and apologize.
Eventually, I stopped looking and went back to the center of the village, where the incident occurred. Emily was back. Emily was back with a bow and arrow.
The End of Jean Kato
Emily yelled at me, swore at me, and pulled back on that string releasing an arrow right into me. I apologized again as my other granddaughter spoke, “Oh no.” My daughter repeated that it was an accident. The damage was done.
My grandson ran over with a bandage to try and heal me. It was too late. My hair is gray, I built my road, and I’m bleeding out. I wished my family good luck as my final words. I faded off at age 52.
My family tree is available on the One Hour One Life website here.
This is just one life in this game, every hour, every life, can lead to an interesting story. Whether it’s one minute starving as a baby or the 52-minute story of Jean Kato. I learned more about how the Kato family continued after my death by looking at the family tree.
Instead of writing up another essay, I’ll summarize what I was able to figure out. Emily Kato was killed by her mother Princess Kato after killing me. When I was still alive, distant family members that spawned elsewhere in the server found us. They joined the village and apparently added to the chaos.
Princess was then killed by the child Durga Kato, a child. Durga was then killed by Princess’s daughter, Charmaine Kato. Charmaine then killed the final female of the Kato family, her daughter Future Kato. Ironically not the future after all.
The Kato family ended with Sona Kato, whose final words were, “But sisters?” Likely wondering about his family murdering each other.
Jeff is a journalist with over 10 years of experience writing, streaming, and making content about video games. With an associate degree in journalism, he’s a sucker for RPGs, survival games, roguelikes, and more.