2012 phenomenon: top five end-of-the-world-themed video games

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2012 phenomenon: top five end-of-the-world-themed video games

2012 phenomenon: top five end-of-the-world-themed video games
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Dino Run

Imagine your life as a tiny dinosaur some 65 million years ago, gently frolicking in the Cretaceous grass, occasionally munching on an earthworm or a furry warm-blooded critter. One day, your feast is interrupted by an orange-tinted light in the sky. Is it a bird? A plane? No, it’s a meteorite. The thunderous roar, deafening crash and incoming shockwave of fire and debris only mean one thing: Run! Now, it’s the survival of the fastest.

Dino Run is a fun and addictive platform game, in which the goal is to outrun the incoming shockwave of destruction while collecting food, eggs and DNA strains for upgrade. As your world is engulfed by fire, obstacles (boulders, cliffs and other stocky dinosaurs) risk slowing you down, bringing you seconds closer to a wall of death.

This flash game mixes successfully the lo-tech feeling of pixel art and 8 bit music with the nerve-wracking thrill of flirting with total extinction. Controls, although deceptively simple (left, right, jump, duck), aren’t easy to master while dodging threats such as lava and falling boulders. More classically the upgrade system will pump your dino up, to jump higher, accelerate better or run faster. Will you be fast enough to sprint through the levels and reach the safe haven of the cave where your species will survive?

Dino run is playable here:

Pandemic 2

Have you ever dreamed of killing your noisy neighbour, your annoying ex-partner or simply wiping the whole world? Then Pandemic 2 is for you.

This time, you are the bad guy. Not a James Bond super-villain or a leader of blood-thirsty Earth-invading aliens. You are small, microscopic even. In Pandemic 2, you play a microorganism, a nasty one. Your goal? To annihilate Earth’s population.

To do so, you will have at your disposal a virus, a bacteria or a parasite, each with different strengths and weaknesses. Your game begins in one single host in a random country on a world map and it is up to you to contaminate the 6 billon others.

Infecting people will give you DNA points needed to evolve into more infectious, lethal version of your pathogen. Using waterborne, insect, rodent or airborne transmission, skipping borders and oceans inside planes’ and boats’ crew bodies, you have to spread over the entire globe.

But beware. The most infectious and lethal traits (coughing, vomiting, hemorrhaging or worse) are also the most visible. Once you are identified, the world’s hospitals will start pooling resources together and work on a vaccine. Unless you disrupt their countries enough to force the hospitals to close, that vaccine will be deployed, preventing you to achieve world extermination. It’s a race to the finish, mankind’s finish, that it.


The Fallout series

The Fallout games are an award-winning series of turn-based/real-time Role-Playing video games (RPG) taking place in a gritty post-nuclear winter world. Starting in 1997, the episodes of the series allow the player to wander through vaults, villages and wastelands populated by mutants, criminals, mechanized warriors and much more.

The faux 50’s, retro-futurist background and artwork surrounding the game is pitch perfect and bring the player to a dystopian world where all the Cold War fears about nuclear warfare have come true. Gathering experience and karma, the player earns perks and increases his/her stats, all of which are impacting the flow of the game. Good or bad, diplomatic of violent, there are several ways to fulfill quests. One can even give up on the original plot entirely and start a life of crime and post-apocalyptic depravity.

The series’ universe is littered with pop culture references, parodies and mature theme that make it unsuitable for the younger players but grown-ups will enjoy roaming freely in vitrified deserts, deserted nuclear shelters, military bases and hollowed-out cities, Las Vegas and Washington D.C, among them.

The Resident Evil series

In 1996 Resident Evil came out on Playstation, a ground-breaking, genre-defining video game on Playstation. After a brutal introduction sequence, the player was thrown into a world of gore, violence and pure terror. The player had to escape the manor his/her team had taken refuge in by solving puzzles, enigmas and killing lots of brain-eating zombies. Resident Evil (RE) was so terrifying in fact that playing this game in the dark was one of the scariest activities of the 1990’s.

Sixteen years later, Resident Evil games have sold 50 million units as of 30 June 2012. They have expended the game’s universe far outside the doomed mansion of the first episode. With novels and movies starring Milla Jovovich, RE is now a media franchise worth several hundred million dollars.

One of the first survival horror games of the genre, Resident Evil is one of the most influential games ever. The genetic experimentations of the secretive Umbrella Corporation which, as the background story, threatened to wipe out Earth’s population, were a much larger and terrifying enemy than the zombies and monsters chasing the players in dark corridors.

The Zettai Zetsumei Toshi series

This Japanese game is less known in the Western world, with only one episode translated and adapted for an English-speaking audience. The Zettai Zetsumei Toshi series embodies the survival genre.

In each episode, the player has to make his/her way out of a world (island/city) where all hell breaks loose due to natural catastrophes. Dodging falling skyscrapers, exploding cars or crawling through flooded sewers and collapsed metro tubes, the player and his/her companion have to get out while keeping health and stress at safe levels.

The series is so stressful and oppressive that the latest episode, planned for 2011, was cancelled after to the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami hit the east coast of Japan.

More about the game on Wikipedia

Bonus: The Last of Us

One of the most anticipated games of 2013, this post-apocalyptic survival action-adventure game will use all the technical capacities of the PS3 to offer highly detailed graphics and innovative game play. In addition, two-time Oscar winning composer Gustavo Santaolalla will provide the soundtrack for this game.
Located in a world where civilization as we know it ended after a fungal infection mutated some humans into cannibal monsters, the surviving population turns to lawlessness and foraging to survive. In this game, the typical grizzled hero will have a unusual side-kick: a 14-year-old girl born after the initial infection.