Post-Apocalyptic Myths Busted. Part III.
As many of you already knows, recently, in my work designing and analyzing concepts for another weapon from our game, I heard that there hasn't yet been a hard science fiction video game. In complete disbelief, I checked the Internet and Wikipedia. It's hard to imagine my surprise when I came up empty handed.
Yes, the international gaming community has industry standard space operas (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect, etc.); space westerns (are you waiting for Firefly too?); purely apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic games (Fallout, Metro, etc.); cyberpunk (Deus Ex, Syndicate, etc.); steampunk (Arcanum, Dishonored etc.); alternate history games (Command and Conquer) and more.
But it turns out that no one has yet made a completely hard science fiction game, despite the fact that since the time of H. G. Wells, it has been considered the original science fiction genre. The difference lies in its strict adherence to scientific laws firmly established at the time of writing. What really made these books stand out was their detailed scientific and technical basis and their realistic extrapolation from that.
It turns out that the relentlessly scientific approach that we've been building into every nook and cranny of our setting since the beginning has the potential to make After Reset RPG the first hard science fiction video game in history.
After discussing this discovery with our team and gaming journalists, I decided to summarize and share some of the most enduring classic myths about life after the apocalypse that we intend to do away with in our game. I remind you that this is intended for an adult audience, and in order to convince that audience of the reality and authenticity of our game, and by the same token to allow the game to really let the players immerse themselves in their characters – it needs to be truly scientifically convincing as well as being based on facts and real world experience.
Well, what are we waiting for? Pour yourself a glass of something cold, lean back in your chair and let's keep busting those classic movie and video game myths about life after the end of the world.
MYTH #8: LEGIONS OF ZOMBIES
Myth: Zombies. Hordes of man-eating zombies everywhere. And you, with your perfectly fitted sheriff's hat, or closely trimmed Brad Pitt-esque beard, go about gunning these abominations down, with the help of other survivors. Of course, in roaming across the country you are able to avoid being bit by these creatures as you valiantly hold off wave after wave of zombies.
Reality: Zombies are nothing more than a mythical archetypical character of modern mass culture. The key word here is mythological. Even if we suppose this unbelievable pandemic, which spreads ideally and allows necrotic neurogenesis (a process that allows dead brain tissue to grow again). Yes, with the completely dead husk of a brain, which is what makes a person human, you can achieve reanimation of the part of the brain that deals with basic motor functions and primitive instincts. Sure, you could contract brain parasites such as Toxoplasma gondii. But, even with this kind of pandemic, it will not multiply by infecting others by biting, even if you eat all the calories from your victim, i.e. absolutely everything to the bare bones. Beyond that, after only 30 days a fantasy pandemic of zombies cannot get food by itself, but instead by constantly burning energy, will simply shrivel up and die off the natural way. They have no way to run after you.
In After Reset RPG: No brain-eating zombies. In some regions (for example in zones with abandoned Artifacts) you can come across people that don't seem "quite right in the head," but even they are not going to eat your brains, what's more, they won't even try. Living people will present a much bigger threat than hordes of these invented and popularized beings.
MYTH #9: MUTANTS, SUPERMUTANS, ULTRAMUTANTS
Myth: After a nuclear apocalypse many people will have turned into hideous mutants, and some will even have attained superpowers from the radiation.
Reality: Studies on the consequences of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and also the Chernobyl disaster have shown that people exposed to the effects of ionized radiation simply die. There is simply no biological basis for adaptive mutation, like those seen in Drosophila flies, for the human body. The problem here is hidden in humankind's insufficient birth rate and extremely long lifespan. As it relates to the effects of radiation on the next generation – that is just a sad story.
In After Reset RPG: 123 years after the Reset, most of the descendants of those who lived through the nuclear apocalypse on the surface of the Earth look and genetically are the same Homo sapiens. Of course, with the passage of time there are some adaptive changes such as increased liver size (for better filtration of harmful substances) or in the retina of the eye (for more protection from UV radiation), but in most cases this is practically unidentifiable without serious medical study. From time to time in the settlements of the survivors, children with visibly noticeable mutations are born, but they rarely survive birth and natural selection in general. And if they survive, they suffer persecution worse than Tyrion in Game of Thrones. As a rule these mutants are called Deviants. They lead unsociable or reclusive lives. Despite the fact that most of them are infertile, if they can have children, they are born completely normal.
MYTH #10: CANNIBALISM AS A FOOD SOURCE
Myth: Whether suffering from a lack of food or just to have a little extra, people started to eat each other. These cannibals started to pop up in groups and hunt other survivors in order to eat the slowest of them. These monsters, having tasted human flesh, are easy to pick out from a crowd due to their characteristic tremble.
Reality: We won't be discussing modern instances of cannibalism here, borne out of fairly rare psychological deviations. It's better to consider cannibalism as a result of hunger, which is truly unavoidable in the case of a nuclear cataclysm. A great number of instances of cannibalism out of need are known, when people faced with death from hunger had to eat the flesh of those who had already died of natural causes, or even more rarely were killed by the cannibals. But we shouldn't forget that these people became social outcasts, and the psychological trauma and feeling of guilt of those forced into cannibalism remained with them until the end of their lives, even leading some to suicide. What then are the "characteristic physiological signs" by which we can distinguish a cannibal from a normal person? Well in popular media, movies and video games they show the consequences of very real prion diseases, which are spread by eating an infected subject. But these diseases are very rare and as a rule wipe out populations on their own before they can spread.
In After Reset RPG: Everywhere in the new Eastern America, where the game takes place cannibalism is judged and acknowledged as a taboo. In the cities of the New Confederacy a proven act of cannibalism can easily lead to a hanging. For the small contingent of the United Governments in the region, cannibalism is so barbaric that they would never consider it. Some tribes of the Indian Union have resorted to ritual cannibalism from time to time, but with the development of agriculture and livestock farming even these rituals have been replaced with symbolic ones. But this relates to the major factions of the region as a whole. If we consider the question on a smaller scale, abnormal people can be found everywhere, and of course "what happens in the Wasteland stays in the Wasteland." But, of course you cannot tell a normal person from a cannibal by purely physiological attributes.
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Keeping drooling? :)