Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Something I've been really interested in (for a while, really) is the concept of the apocalypse.  You wouldn't think it, since I was terrified of zombies at a young age due to a neighbor showing me The Night of the Living Dead, but now I love to think about it.  My senior thesis revolved around the idea of a doomsday/end of the world scenario and that seemed to be only the beginning.

For a long time, my only sorts of media input on "the apocalypse" were two concepts: the zombie apocalypse, and some sort of grey end of the world, like The Road.  28 Days Later is my favorite film because it redefined the image of the "zombie" for me.  That movie enabled me to be able to watch a zombie film, as it was a thriller rather than a horror.  I devoured Max Brooks' The Zombie Survival Guide and a few years later, World War Z.  I was no longer afraid of zombies, so I was able to think about them (something I will never be able to achieve with things like ghosts, for example).  Then there was The Walking Dead, which I read and watched (but I'm not caught up too... oops!).

I love the idea of the apocalypse, because it enables the ability to push people to their breaking point.  It allows for humanity to become their "true selves" without the hinderance of law and government and social values.  This then brings up the question of: which of those values need to be upheld, even though the people are now in a lawless situation.  This enables the character of a person to truly come out, and for moral values to be put to the test.

So, that was how I thought of the apocalypse for a long time.  That was how I thought about it all throughout creating my thesis, and those are the values and ideas I wanted to get across in my work.  However, recently I've been playing Fallout 3.  If you've played it, I'm sure you can take a guess at where I'm going with this.

Fallout 3 revolves around The Capital Wasteland, the area around Washington D.C. 200 years after World War III, when China and America bombed each other to hell with nuclear bombs.  The concept of the Cold War and nuclear holocaust was never an apocalypse idea I had considered, even though it had been an actual real fear to people all over the world fifty years ago, including my parents.  The Road seems to play upon this concept in a similar way (nuclear winter), but I had never really considered nuclear fallout as a concept.  I have no idea why.

I then was prompted by my boyfriend (who also loves this stuff) to start devouring Cold War and nuclear holocaust media.  I watched Dr. Strangelove: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, which is satire about Cold War paranoia being the cause of the destruction of humanity, rather than any actual real threat.  I then watched A Boy And His Dog, which is a really weird movie.  That one I didn't really like, because the characters are all awful people with no redeeming qualities.  However, everything else about that movie is amazing!  The design and ideas of the movie are really spot on, which is why Fallout was based largely on that film.

Fallout is even cooler, in a way, as they took it a step further.  The war in Fallout didn't actually happen until 2077, but the key to the design of the game is that the United States was kind of stuck in a strange continuation of 1950s culture.  As soon as you say that, I love it, because I love the 1950s period, but to push it that far makes it even cooler.

There's also the whole concept that the game takes place about 250 years after what we consider "now," which means that the things that people know of life before the war are few and far between.  Setting the game so far in the future as well as essentially in the past is an amazing design choice, and it's extremely effective.  By choosing that timeline, it enables the player to become placed in a future that they feel like they already know, therefore creating a much more immersive game.

I am so hype over all this stuff, I couldn't help but write about it.  I've been struggling with this blog, and I haven't had much I felt like writing about, so I opened this document just to see if I could come up with something.  Seems like I could!