9 games of post-apocalyptic proportions

9 games of post-apocalyptic proportions

Feature

Hollywood and Discovery Channel sure are milking the 2012 end of the world predictions. That’s all fun and good, but it is child’s play compared to what gaming has to offer to the susceptible mind.

6. Left 4 Dead 2


9 games of post-apocalyptic proportions

Genre: First Person Shooter
Developer: Valve
Released: November 2009
Disaster: Virus Outbreak

Synopsis
A worldwide pandemic of an infectious disease causes humans to mutate into mindless but dangerously aggressive zombies. Those immune to the disease band together in safe zones that remain under continuous attack of the ever increasing zombie horde. Meanwhile, the military works frantically to evacuate the non-infected to safety and spreading word of evacuation points where survivors can be airlifted. The game follows four survivors as they struggle to reach an evacuation point where they too can be brought to safety.

Why it matters
Right off the bat, Left 4 Dead puts the player on the edge of his seat where he remains as he leads the four survivors out of a seemingly endless string of desperate predicaments. A nerve-racking experience, the game offers a plethora of weaponry - both melee and ranged - to fend off a diverse zombie army in absolutely gruesome ways. While the extensive single-player is a blast to play through, Left 4 Dead shines in multiplayer where its cooperative mode has set the bar for years to come. Good training, if a disaster like this should ever come to pass.

5. Anno 2070


9 games of post-apocalyptic proportions

Genre: City Builder
Developer: Related Designs
Released: November 2011
Disaster: Global Flooding

Synopsis
The Arctic ice cap is no more and sea levels have risen catastrophically and much of the world has flooded as a result. Civilization has largely broken and what is left of humanity is utterly divided about how to rebuild. One side (the Ecos) believes the only way to restore the planet’s ecological balance is by ‘going green’ while the other (the Tycoons) feel the damage has been done and contest that the only way to get mankind back on its feet is to do so quick without worrying about doing it dirty. Realizing that their differences are unreconcilable, the two factions rebuild while maintaining a strenuous relationship.

Why it matters
On the surface Anno 2070 looks like a friendly enough game. Even if all-out warfare is possible, the objective of the game is to build, not to fight, and the habitable islands look like lush, green slices of paradise rather than hellish, barren rocks ravished by nature. But looks are deceiving. Perhaps without intention, Anno 2070 is a reflection of the dilemma that Earth’s real-life population finds itself in. The prosperity some have and many are still striving to achieve comes at a cost that we cannot afford to pay. Some actively seek to contribute to a greener planet (a small but growing minority of Ecos, primarily based in the West) while others cannot really afford to do so (some in the West, many, many in the East).

4. Metro 2033


9 games of post-apocalyptic proportions

Genre: First Person Shooter
Developer: 4A Games
Released: March 2010
Disaster: Nuclear War

Synopsis
2013 marks the end of the 3rd World War. It was, as predicted by some, the war to end all wars and the planet’s surface is a nuclear wasteland. Humanity is all but wiped out and for those who survived, the only habitable place was underground. Metro 2033 is set 20 years after the war ends and follows a young Russian named Artyom who has spent his life living in the confines of the Moscow metro system. He learns that even that meagre existence is about to be taken from him and his fellow survivors and he sets out to find help in an effort to protect his home from being overrun by mutant creatures.

Why it matters
When Artyom learns of the existence of the Dark Ones and the threat of them overrunning his home, it creates and instant and tangible foe. As the story progresses, the game’s writers make a slow but deliberate attempt to change the player’s perspective. Are the mutated Dark Ones really the enemy and are they as monstrous as the player so readily assumed? Perhaps not. And if that is the case, it raises the question whether the obviously sentient Dark Ones do not have a right to carve a life and a future of their own, possibly at the cost of human life. It is up to the player to make that decision, and the game raises ultimately a strong argument if Earth would not be better off without its dominant species.