I love science fiction, and I love video games. So it’s quite fortuitous for me that the sci-fi genre has been a staple of video games practically since they were invented. (Fun fact: Pong is actually supposed to be two alien space ships battling each other.) (Another fun fact: That’s not true at all.)
So I decided to compile a list of my top five favorite sci-fi worlds/universes from (current generation) video games in no real order. “Why just current gen?” you ask? Because it’s getting late and I don’t have the patience to do the amount of thinking it would require to think about older games. Also, this list is limited to games I’ve played. And I don’t own a PS3. So please, don’t accuse me of any fanboyism. I can’t talk about how great Resistance is if I’ve never played it.
And now, without further ado, onto the list!
(This is the last ado. The list begins after the jump.)
No. 5: Fallout
No series quite captures the misery and desperation of surviving in a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland like Fallout (although I’m not sure how many have tried).
What I really love about Fallout is the worn-down feel of everything. Civilization discovered computers and atomics early in the Fallout universe. So technology took off, but everything kept a 1950s art deco aesthetic. So while you’re walking around what looks like the bombed-out set of Mad Men, you’re actually 300 years in the future. Plasma rifles are held together with duct tape and spit. Robots look pitted and worn. Weird-looking, fusion-powered cars littered the cracked and decaying roadways. Strange creatures attack you without provocation.
I know Fallout began before this console generation, but Fallout 3 revamped the game completely. It turned the series into a first-person shooter/rpg hybrid. One of my favorite things about the game was just exploring the Capital Wasteland. You’re in Washington, D.C., but it’s in ruins. People are struggling to survive, barely eking out existence in the radioactive wastes surrounding the city. You find people living everywhere: in squalid farms, inside monuments and even in the wreckage of an aircraft carrier.
Fallout: New Vegas moved the series to the Mojave desert, where civilization is, surprisingly enough, actually doing better. I loved how the people in New Vegas are still running casinos, desperately trying to carry on some semblance of a normal society. The two-block New Vegas Strip looks, for the most part, good — almost like the nuclear holocaust never happened. But the outer areas of the city are as decrepit as the Capital Wasteland.
My favorite thing about the Fallout universe is its believability (for the most part). Yes, the robots and plasma rifles are a little out there. But the way the people act, the scenery around you: it makes me think of what society would look like decades after a huge nuclear fallout. People are trying to make the best lives they can for themselves. And that’s why Falloutis my No. 5.