How Apocalypse is Portrayed in Games

We just finished hosting Nick Harp's English class in the archive, which focused on how the apocalypse (in its various contrived forms) is represented in video games. The class discussion led to several very interesting questions:

- How do the moods and immersion levels of apocalyptic games differ over time and amongst different types of games? How do game creators design the games to achieve them?

- How do commercial goals and graphic limitations affect the moods and immersion levels of apocalyptic games? Why are some apocalyptic games largely comical/entertaining in nature, while others are very serious?

- Do video games have the potential to be categorized as art? How does the definition of art as "something that imitates real life" affect your answer?

The archive staff were also given the task of curating a list of apocalyptic games, which was a lot of fun to come up with:

  • Apocalypse (Bruce Willis version)
  • Castlevania Series
  • Darksiders Series
  • Dead Rising
  • Fallout Series
  • Fragile Dreams
  • Gears of War Series
  • Half-Life Series
  • I Am Alive
  • Kingdom Hearts Series
  • The Last of Us
  • Left 4 Dead Series
  • Limbo
  • Metro: 2033 and Metro: Last Light
  • Missile Command
  • Plants vs. Zombies
  • Resident Evil Series
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Series
  • Sunset Overdrive
  • The Walking Dead
  • Wasteland Series
  • Wolfenstein 3D
  • Zombies Ate My Neighbors

Which games would you have added, and why?


Ian Demsky
on Nov. 17, 2:16pm

Some additional suggestions: Borderlands series; RAGE; Fallen Earth. For me, it's hard to top the original Wasteland.

Val Waldron
on Nov. 17, 2:28pm

Hmm, good thoughts. We might have to look into downloading Fallen Earth.

Ian Demsky
on Nov. 17, 2:43pm

What about Doom II -- subtitle: Hell on Earth?

on Jan. 9, 10:50am

It's not an absolute end-of-the-world scenario -- but it was exciting and disheartening watching New York City crumble, as more and more of its population succumbed to the Blacklight virus, in "Prototype."

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