I love disaster films. Whether a Cloverfield is pooping out parasites to make people's stomachs explode or a huge killer meteor is heading to Earth, I can't help but find myself in the cinema anxiously munching on popcorn to see what happens next. There was a time when it seemed like every film coming out was placed in the disaster genre, and this prompted me look on my own shelf to see what video game titles I had that were also based around a disastrous environment I enjoyed playing in.
The "accidental" type of disaster (usually wrapped up in some element of conspiracy theory or evil corporation) leads us to plots like Infamous when the Ray Sphere in Cole's backpack detonates and causes a large explosion, leaving Empire City in ruins. It helps when the explosion gives our protagonist a Godly surge of electrical powers because it provides us with hours of fun zapping and electrocuting enemies or the ocassional civillian. The so-to-speak accident gives us reasons for the gameplay mechanics because it makes sense in this world for the player to have these powers and consequently exploit them as much as possible. Other types of plots that fall in this category are arguably the ones that focus on the spread of a plague like in Prototye, or the illegal experiments that result in contagious mutations caused by the T-virus in Resident Evil.
The Alien Invasion
One of my favourite shooters to play is the Resistance series because of the gruesome enemies encountered in the game and the unique weapons that come out of the setting. The invasion of the Chimera takes us to an alternate history of WWII which involves a mixture of vintage guns like the Carbine, and alien technology like the Bullseye. Insomniac Games is known to have an excellent expertise in creating one of a kind weapons and the Resistance series does not disappoint in this area. Other alien invasion favourites of mine of course include the critically acclaimed Half-Life 2 (and the Gravity Gun surely delivers in the awesome technology theme), Contra, and depending on how many rum and cokes I've had, the Halo series.
The Nuclear Wars
If you spend a long enough time reading the news you might find this category of disaster to hit a bit too close to home. Seems like every time there is a threat of a nuclear war, more fiction within the disaster genre creeps up into our silver screens, consoles, and literary texts. The absolute best example is Fallout 3, where I've navigated the wastelands more thoroughly than any neighbourhood I've lived in. Old timey tunes immediately signal fond memories of plasma rifles and Sugar Bombs, and the idea of a brand new society in a post-apocalypse is the most intriguing response to disaster genre I've experienced. Another game to mention in this category is Metro 2033 based on the novel by Dmitry Glukhovsky which I urge you to curl up with and read over the holiday season if you haven't already done so.
Special Mention: The Tokyo Jungles
Because a world where humans do not exist and pomeranians populate as pack leaders is the closest to peace this civillization can ever hope to achieve.
What are your favourite type of disasters in video games? Do you have any particular titles that fall in this category or the ones I've posted? Share in the comments!