Societal Collapse Worked For Me! I've been playing a lot of Fallout 3 lately, and the thing that I've been struck by is just how romantic it is. I don't know why. Everything has been shattered by unchecked nuclear war, nearly all food and water has been tainted with radiation, people live in the ruins of cars and planes, and huddle together to protect themselves from a world filled with walking corpses and enraged mutants. But I love it. I go for virtual walks in the country side, and I find it relaxing. Sure I have to blow the head of the occasional gang of Mad Max style Raiders every now and again, but that doesn't sway me from the sheer fascination I have with exploring a destroyed elementary school; seeing the suburban houses shelled and burnt clean, the walls blown out, but the TV still flickering. It's gorgeous, and charges my imagination like nothing else.It's not just the game that evokes it in me. I'm reminded of Fight Club, when Tyler Durden is leaving Jack in his sleep, and describing what his vision of the future is. "The world I see -- you're stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center. You wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life. You climb the wrist-thick vines that wrap the Sears Tower. You see tiny figures pounding corn and laying strips of venison on the empty car pool lane of an abandoned superhighway." Or maybe the first act of I Am Legend, before we see anyone else. The good zombie movies. Anything starring Charlton Heston in the 70's. It's a classic Sci-Fi setting, post-apocalyptic, and it's almost always in America. Why? A friend and I were talking last night about how we're fighting off collapse anxiety. Assigning ourselves value at our work places, seeing how well we fare again the others on our design teams, etc. Basically trying to figure out how many waves of the inevitable layoffs we could survive. And as we worked through the bad to worst cases scenarios, I found that as we moved to the "Holy Shit everything is falling apart" part of the spectrum, I got more comforted. Job hunting and constant performance reviews, feverishly checking the news for relief, saving every penny. That's not living, that's just surviving.

As we came up with the worst things that could happen (barring accidents and disease, of course), it got, well, appealing. A few samples:

Q: "What if you couldn't find work for a full year?" A:Turns out you can default on a lot of financial obligations, they just disappear.

Q:"What about your credit score?" A: If shit gets that bad, credit scores aren't going to matter.

Q:"What if you can't pay your bills?" A: I guess I'll just have to go back to reading and fucking as entertainment. Fire's easy to make.

Q:"What about food?" A: By then, the farmer's market will have turned into a swap meet, wouldn't it? People would meet for jobs, day labor, skill swapping. It'd be the center of town!Of course, this is the Postman view of things. You know, everything peaceful while nobly desperate, working and building by hand, people discovering what they are truly talented at and making a living doing it, etc. I'm sure everything would be fine until the warlords arrived. But hey, at least then towns would have a booming Ronin market. Hey, maybe that's what I'm meant for! Fingers crossed! Because I'm sure not going to be able to provide for my wife by trading snarky opinions and over blown nerd analysis for groceries.So, is this the where the fantasy comes from? Release from your bills and mortgage and bad habits, at the cost of lonely, back breaking work to survive? And is it always America because we accepts obligations at face value, as the norm? Because the comforting conclusion that we came to was that if it gets a little bit worse, that's going to really suck. But if it gets a lot worse, that's going to kind of rule.

_.jpgUntil I get a craving for a Dr. Pepper and have to sell my babies, that is. That's going to be rough.-m@POP QUIZ: Giving Mankind's current path, what vision of the future do you imagine most likely?

a) Worker bee loss of humanity, as seen in Brazil b) Mad Max style neo-barbarianism c) Dense with ads, w/ totalitarian government, as seen in Minority Report d) Dense with ads, wild west living, as seen in Blade Runner e) Destruction through war, nuclear or not f) Dragons! See Reign of Fire

PS: As a palette cleanser, Reign of Fire has my thinking about Christian Bale. Which has me thinking of Bat(man) shit crazy. Which makes me think of this:


Aufbrezeln Eschaton 13 years, 3 months ago

How about: g) dense with ads, with secret totalitarian alien government, as seen is "They Live"?

pistachio 13 years, 3 months ago

Matt, you're so doom-and-gloom.

g) Hoverboards! According to "Back to the Future II", they're destined to hit us by 2015. I am willing to sit tight for 6 more years.

matt 13 years, 3 months ago

How could I not of suggested "The Day After" as an option? Of course Man's last message will be broadcast from Frasier Hall!

Bryan Anderson 13 years, 3 months ago

Can we have a slow-moving zombie apocalypse as one of the options?
Regardless, my pick for a future dystopia justice system would still have to be the Thunderdome.

PatrickJoseph 13 years, 3 months ago

Nanerpus will end up being the Duke of New York.

What are those screen shots from? The game or a movie?

Jason 13 years, 3 months ago

G) corporation run city-states/sovereign gated-communities crop up in place of the collapsing governments world-wide, post-hyperinflation, as read in Snow Crash.

Personally I'm shooting for becoming a citizen of one of the Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong clave's.

and by the way... I love me some Fallout 3.

How're you playing? good/evil/somewhere between?

matt 13 years, 3 months ago

I'm play somewhere in the middle, basically making decisions to help people and be supportive to gain favor. But I'm still robbing people blind when I can get away with it. I didn't set the bomb off in Megaton, but I'm not going after my Dad right away either. I think I'm like 60% good?

Jason 13 years, 2 months ago

I'm in my second play-through. I was full-tilt good and focused on the main story first time. This time I'm being more relaxed, but I did set off the bomb (mainly because I wanted to see it, and check out Tenpenny Tower). I started out being pretty well fully evil, but my own conscience tends to interfere, and tempered me down to about 60% evil.

I always find it pretty hard to be too evil in these games generally, other than theft, but the setting of this game, and that so many of it's occupants are complete bastards, does make it a good deal easier.

But I still can't, for example, turn some random orphan over to slavers. Somehow that's harder than setting off a nuke in a town.

mamallama 13 years, 2 months ago

maybe we could just all live in tents. I'd like that, I think. It doesn't matter to me so much what kind of apocalypse we have as long as the sun doesn't explode and we destroy the earth burning everything just so we can have light, like in that Byron poem. that would definitely put a damper on that no bills to pay thing.

matt 13 years, 2 months ago

Speaking of the end of the world and the sun exploding, there's a fantastic book by Phil Plait (the Bad Astronomy guy) that I'm going through about all the different ways that the world can be destroyed. It might have the best title ever. It's called, "Death From The Skies!". Check it out. The chapter on solar flares is mind melting.

tinuh 13 years, 1 month ago

the answer to your pop quiz is it's almost criminal that you didn't mention Cyborg or Fist of the North Star on here. (two of my most favoritest post apocolyptic movies EVAR! cyborg is what i watch when i want to play fallout but don't have the time.) also, there IS the possibility of a post apocolyptic world a la waterworld. Pop Quiz: how can kevin costner get any hotter? Answer: slap some gills on that bitch and get him soakin wet! helll yeah!

Commenting has been disabled for this item.