Twelve Awesome Apocalyptic Games to Play Before the World Ends
As we move into December 2012, there's one thing on everyone's minds (aside from Christmas) - the end of the world: The Mayan Apocalypse. For those of you who've been living under a rock, December 21, 2012, is the date on which the current cycle of the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar comes to an end, and if some people are to be believed, the world will end with it.
Me? I think we've got another Y2K deal coming up.
Still, even if no one really believes the world's going to end in fire and brimstone, it's a fun topic to discuss, right? After all, if there's one thing human beings are obsessed with, it's their own mortality, and it's kind of entertaining trying to figure out what's going to kill us first: the planet, the solar system, or ourselves.
Why not get into the spirit of the season by playing a few apocalyptic - and postapocalyptic - games? Here are twelve series and franchises guaranteed to make you turn your eyes towards the future (or the lack thereof).
The Fallout Series
I'm going to get Fallout on the table right away, since it's probably the first thing most of you thought about when asked to call to mind a game set after the End of Man. Set in an irradiated alternate America where nuclear fire burned the world shortly after the fifties; the Fallout games are staggeringly huge, and playing through the series could very easily swallow up your whole month.
It might not be a prime example of apocalyptic gaming fiction, but it certainly took great strides towards defining it.
The Mass Effect Trilogy
Some of you might be surprised to find Mass Effect on the list. I'll explain: sure, the series starts out as a grand, sweeping space opera, but it doesn't take long for everybody to realize what the stakes are: a galactic extinction event on a colossal scale, which has been happening over and over almost since the dawn of time. Take one look at the ruined, ravaged worlds of Mass Effect 3 and then try to tell me the series isn't apocalyptic.
And hey - the games have a pretty decent storyline tying them together, too.
It's easy to see why Half-Life 2 makes the cut. Think about it. The Black Mesa incident was the catalyst - the beginning of the end. The arrival of The Combine on Earth - and their subsequent seven hour war against humanity - was the apocalypse. What Gordon Freeman steps out into is a broken, shattered world. The atmosphere is being warped. The water's being drained away. Most of Earth's native species have gone extinct, and to make matters worse, virtually everyone has been crushed under the heel of the Combine for as long as anyone can remember.
Seems pretty post-apocalyptic to me.
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A gamer at heart, Nick started writing when he was a child. He holds a BA in English, works as a freelancer, and loves every minute of it. One day, he hopes to net himself a career in game design - but that's something for the future.
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