The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 13
(Possible spoilers in this blog)
A fatal virus has proliferated and massacred almost everyone in a matter of weeks. Tensions have run so high that a nuclear war has broken out and obliterated almost everyone in just days. Or, a germ has broken out that turns whoever is infected into a flesh eating zombie. These are some of the events that plunge the world and any survivors into the apocalypse, a world filled with barren wastelands, rubble from humanity's short reign, and the bones of those who died during it. But this is the world you live in now. You are alive. Now you have to survive.
So you are alive, but where do you go? If you're alone, you should try to find the necessities. Food and water shouldn't be hard to find depending on where you are at, but there is a good chance they are contaminated in the event of a nuclear war due to radiation, and you can't grow any food for that same reason. If a virus broke out, there is the ever present risk of you getting it depending on how it can be caught. And if you are in a group, try living with all these risks times however many people there are. The bottom line is this:
It Gives You a Sense of Desperation that Cannot be Found in Other Situations
As stated before, you can try certain things, but whatever it is has a major risk and a small reward. There seems to be no hope. In other situations you try to escape a prison or a city or a battlefield or even a desert island. Here, the world is that prison or city or battlefield or desert island. The only possible escape is death, which can seem very enticing given all the crap you have been through already. There can be temporary refuge, but no permanent escape. (Aside from the impossible task of living in space)
I won't ever forget some of the moments I've seen or experienced in this setting. Rick Grime's reaction when he discovers what his world has become. Seeing what Aperture Science has digressed into after waking up from cryosleep. Your reaction when that elevator brings you up and away from Cave Johnson's corporation, and the door slams shut for the last(?) time. That scarily personal kill at the end of the gameplay trailer for The Last of Us. Every moment from I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream. On and on the list goes.
So, now that I've explained the whys of this genre, its time to talk about the who's of this genre.
The Walking Dead
"Hey, man...its okay. You've seen some crazy crap out there...we all have. You can't let it get to you. You just gotta keep going, you can't stop to think about...or you'll go crazy."
Was there any question the when you saw this blog that this would be included? This is the only post apocalyptic franchise to successfully invade three types of media: TV, comics and video games. Instead on focusing on the bloody part of the apocalypse like many other stories, this one focuses on the relationships you build and the choices you make as a result of what has happened The TV show drew in millions around the world. The comic, which started it all, is one of the most remarkable of all. The video game forced us to question our morality with the choices we made. I recently acquired the first compendium comic, and can't wait to dive deeper into it. As well I am eagerly awaiting the third season of the show and the conclusion of the games.
The Eleventh Plague
"Answer me this, Mr Quinn, are you a boy or a man? Human being or savage? Obviously you've never had to make that choice before. Running on the ruins of this world as your sort of people do, you acted on instinct and self preservation -an animal - no doubt quivering before rainstorms and amazed by fire and shiny objects. But you're here now, Mr. Quinn, and this is civilization, so now you have a choice. So, what do you want to be?
This story follows Stephen Quinn, a teenager born after P-Eleven, a virus that killed off most of the earth's population. Stephen was born after this happened, so all he knows is danger and caution. He and his father are scavengers, people who travel all around the USA and search for anything they could trade for food and water and weapons. Always being cautious, when he stumbles into a small village called Settler's Landing, its hard for him to accept that some people are friendly. This problem helps show the others that arise when trying to rebuild civilization, including rivalries between different villages, and lack of supplies when needed.
"Hello! And again welcome to the Aperture Science Enrichment Center. We are currently experiencing technical difficulties due to circumstances of potentially apocalyptic significance beyond our control."
This is a different type of post-apocalypse, because you aren't trying to survive in the wild. Instead you are in a huge underground science corporation complex called Aperture Science. Except, you are the only one in it because everyone in it was killed by an artificial intelligence that went haywire and poisoned them with a deadly neurotoxin. You don't necessarily know this until the end of the first game, but when you do, it makes everything seem different. In the second game, you can tell how bad the place has become, evidenced by the green life growing along the walls and the fact that the wreckage from your encounter with GLaDOS is unchanged. All the things that you discover as the game goes on are even cooler after what has happened, an indefinite amount of years into the future. I could go on about why I love this game, but lets stay on topic.
I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream
"We had given AM sentience. Inadvertently, of course, but sentience nonetheless. But it had been trapped. AM wasn't God, he was a machine. We had created him to think, but there was nothing it could do with that creativity. In rage, in frenzy, the machine had killed the human race, almost all of us, and it was still trapped. AM could not wander, AM could not wonder. AM could not belong, he could merely be. And so, with the innate loathing that all machines always held for the weak, soft creatures that had built them, he had sought revenge. And in his paranoia, he had decided to reprieve five of us, for a personal, everlasting punishment that would never serve to diminish his hatred...that would merely keep him reminded, amused, proficient at hating man. Immortal, trapped, subject to any torment he could devise for us from the limitless miracles at his command"
This is one of the most depressing stories I've ever read. This short story follows five adults, Gorrister, Ellen, Nimdok, Benny, and Ted, as they endure the unending torture from AM, or Allied Mastercomputer. This is an artificial intelligence made for America because of a nuclear war that was wagered between China, Russia, and and America thanks to the Cold War. It became self aware (or realized humans were using it to help manage the war) and killed off almost the entire human population in revenge. AM leaves the five to live to abuse his power against them by seldom giving them food, (and I mean weeks, not days) and changing their looks and lifestyles. For 109 years he has done this, and tortured them in unthinkable ways, but somehow kept them alive through their attempted suicides and more. The riveting conclusion is miserable in so many ways, and gives the meaning to the unique title. Sadly, the video game adaption has proven hard to find so I haven't played it yet. I did a Google search of the title and found a PDF file of the story, so I strongly encourage you to read this that way or any other way you can.
The Last of Us
"He tells me how these streets were once crowded with people just going about their everyday lives. Must've been pretty nice."
Even though this hasn't come out yet, every trailer has only made my excitement grow even more. This game is about a man, Joel, and teenage girl, Ellie who are in a world that has fallen to a plague thanks to the Cordyceps fungus. They face bandits and 'the infected', people that have gotten the virus, as they make their way across the USA. From what I can tell from the gameplay trailer, the game has some very intense moments, namely the times you kill someone. I look for every piece of information I can get as I await the release of this.
So, along with these examples there are many others that I plan to watch/play/read, including Falling Skies, Stephen King's The Stand, Fallout, Rage, and movies I Am Legend and The Book of Eli. This is the first blog I have really planned out in detail, and I hope you like it as much as I do. Thanks!