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Michael Woodard

Why is dystopian so popular?

14 posts in this topic

we all know something is bound to go really wrong in the world we live in so I think that's one of the reasons why Post Apocalyptic pops up a lot.

I would like to discuss my game and how its different but I'm on a NDA and am still getting permissions to tell about things. It's actually "Voodoogames'' game.

Death Never Accepts.

So until I'm sure about the details, what do you think makes the apocalypse so entertaining?
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@ToddF: Agreed.

Also I think there's something special visually and conceptually about taking something everyday and making it new again. Seeing a regular supermarket - but graffitied and scavenged and inhabited with ruthless raiders. Seeing a national monument - but ravaged by some unknowable disaster. Seeing the motorway overpasses that you drive over every day - but made impassible by huge yawning gaps. It shows that our artifacts are a part of history, just as much as the pyramids or the colloseum. It imparts a sense of historical scale.

Note also that some of the best stories provide that link between the everyday and the unbelievable. How often have we seen the story "regular Joe Schmo stumbles across something crazy"? For example, Terminator (1 and 2 particularly), ET, District 9, Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, The Matrix, Harry Potter, Labyrinth, Groundhog Day, Neverending Story. The characters who live lives like ours allow us to experience that wonder rather than take all the weird wackiness as a given. Seeing the remnants of the world we live in provides that link, with the world as a character rather than a person.
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@Jefferytitan, yes, what you say about the visual aspect is spot on.

Earliest example I remember is in the original Time Machine (1960) wherein our hero travels backwards and forwards in time but on the exact same spot (not a limitation Doctor Who has to contend with). So you had that immediate impact of, 'What the Hell happened to the world?!?!?'

Then you had later filmic examples like the iconic shot of Charlton Heston coming across the half-buried Statue of Liberty in, 'Planet of the Apes', or the 'submerged New York' section of, 'Waterworld.'

I suppose on a basic level, scary is more scary in the [i]warped-familiar[/i] than in the abstract.
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But like anything, it gets a bit much. I'm as tired of dystopian universes as I am of anti-heroes and "gritty realistic" versions of stories I heard as a kid. Some of these things are pretty cool. And then there's the egregious cash-ins that dilute things a bit.


By the by, I loved the movie Road Warrior when I was a kid. I couldn't sit through the first minute as an adult, though, because that's when I realized that in all this gritty, post-apocalyptic nonsense, the roads we see are freshly painted and in remarkably good shape. [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/rolleyes.gif[/img]
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@Heath, its funny that you refer to it as Road Warrior - I think it was only in the States that it was called that. To us Brits, it was always, 'Mad Max'!

BTW, did you know they're making a new one?

[url="http://screenrant.com/mad-max-4-start-date-rob-104458/"]http://screenrant.com/mad-max-4-start-date-rob-104458/[/url]
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It bothers me a little that this reveals where I hail from, but yeah, the second movie in the series is "Road Warrior" here. :P I didn't know that about a fourth movie, but Tom Hardy is a good actor.
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Hardy is absolutely superb, just seen him as Bane in 'Dark Knight Rises.'

If you want an off-the-wall Brit performance from him, check out, 'Bronson' - the biopic of a notorious British criminal called Charlie Bronson......
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I have been eyeing that on Netflix, and I heard Hardy assumed that Nolan chose him because of that role as Bronson. Nolan claimed he hadn't seen the film. :)
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[quote name='Heath' timestamp='1345084709' post='4970031']
By the by, I loved the movie Road Warrior when I was a kid.I couldn't sit through the first minute as an adult, though, because that's when I realized that in all this gritty, post-apocalyptic nonsense, the roads we see are freshly painted and in remarkably good shape.
[/quote]

well, you have discovered the rule of 15 years. if you watched something less than 15 years and like it, DO NOT WATCH IT AGAIN. leave in your memory, a new experience can be very disappointing. Believe me, I watched He-man ...
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[quote name='Mito' timestamp='1345578137' post='4971946']
[quote name='Heath' timestamp='1345084709' post='4970031']
By the by, I loved the movie Road Warrior when I was a kid.I couldn't sit through the first minute as an adult, though, because that's when I realized that in all this gritty, post-apocalyptic nonsense, the roads we see are freshly painted and in remarkably good shape.
[/quote]

well, you have discovered the rule of 15 years. if you watched something less than 15 years and like it, DO NOT WATCH IT AGAIN. leave in your memory, a new experience can be very disappointing. Believe me, I watched He-man ...
[/quote]Lol!
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I'm a little confused by your subject heading. A Dystopian story is typically about a society in which something is horribly off. Think 1984, Fahrenheit 451, A Clockwork Orange, or Brave New World (The Time Machine is a mixture of the both Dystopian and Apocalyptic genres). I think the allure to these novels is driven by our own paranoia or pessimism. Our fear that if things are left unchanged our society could slide into becoming one of these worlds.

As far as post-apocalyptic I think the interest is a lot more complicated. As an artist it allows you to experiment, to tell your own legend about how the world will end. You can do almost anything and paint almost any picture. You can take real world buildings/cities and smash them however you like, or leave them standing hollow and haunted. It also allows a less restricted world. You want deserts to Road Warrior it up? Drop a few Nukes, have the Borg scoop up your cities, set the date several thousand years after most of the world has eroded away. It also allows the author the power of political commentary: what real world issues do you see as a likely cause for the end of the world? Resident Evil seems to think a corporation gone wild mixed with militaristic agendas will be part of the cause (even though I wouldn't classify RE as apocalyptic).

As an audience I think that we are frequently pondering the future, and for many people that includes wondering how and when the world will end. Sometimes our paranoia is piqued at an ominous news story (google Earth Moaning), and we look to literature and art to answer our curiosity on the subject. I'm sure the pool of people who think zombies will bring the end is small, but it's my opinion that the Zombie Meme is an entirely different beast than the Apocalyptic one; even if they operate within the same genre. Edited by a Smith
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Dystopias are often exaggerations of fears we have about real life. An Apocalypse is an inversion, "The Other," a world where we're not living comfortably in suburbia every day.
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it gives the protagonist a lot to work towards, giving the game designer a wide pallet of challenges and dramatic stories to explore. If everything has gone wrong moral ambiguity is much more easily explored. Its like how medieval stories can get away with sexism. The apocalypse can be brutally violent and it makes sense. "Its the end of the world." This makes the protagonist appear much more noble and "right" against a backdrop of everything going wrong.
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