If there’s one thing that we can’t seem to get enough of, it’s the prospect of the world as we know it coming to a messy end and leaving whoever is left behind to deal with the fallout. This obsession with life suddenly coming to a shuddering halt one day is reflected in the number of movies, games, TV shows, and comic books in which the subject is found.
What is this media craze for an apocalypse that, let’s face it, would be pretty grim? As always, what developers and writers put in their products simply reflects what is happening around them in society. It just seems that we all are actually secretly a bit interested in the fall of humanity and what we would actually do if it came to pass.
The many weird ways our world could end
There are so many unusual ways that society could collapse and leave us all scavenging for food and shelter that it’s hard to fit them into one article. Things such as an alien attack, a zombie apocalypse, robots rising up, and virulent pandemics could all be the cause. One thing’s for sure – whatever happens, you’d better have a few tins of soup in your fallout shelter just in case!
The media, the end of the world, and you
As previously noted, the media has latched onto our fascination with a post-apocalyptic world and ran with it. Movies such as The Hunger Games series, the Tom Cruise vehicle War of the Worlds, and even the Mad Max series before them all dealt with this subject in detail. As far as comic books go, there are many to choose from – prime among them classics such as Crisis on Infinite Earths with the Flash or Fantastic Four’s The Galactus Trilogy.
Video games have also got in on the action with PC titles such as the eerie nuclear fallout thriller S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl or the zombie blaster Left 4 Dead. Not to be left out, TV has aired numerous shows on the subject, most recently with series The Walking Dead.
What is noticeably common across all these is the presence of a central protagonist and how they are usually the only hope to save the day. If you take the Flash, for example, in Crisis of Infinite Earths, he single-handedly saves the multiverse by creating a vortex around the main villain’s anti-matter device. Indeed, the Flash was such a success that he even made the move to TV and gained more fans and exposure there.
This type of central hero is found in most stories of this sort – from Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games to Will Smith’s character in Independence Day, it seems that we need to have a character to believe in and give us hope that, if it really went down, there would be someone to save us all.
Are we all just worrying too much?
Do we just love being scared, or do we worry too much based on the things that we’ve seen or the games that we’ve played?
It would be great to give a yes or no answer, but guess what? This is life and things just ain’t that simple, sorry! Some things such as a virus spreading across the world to infect all humanity, some kind of natural disaster such as a tsunami, or nuclear war could conceivably happen. That’s not to say that they will, but in theory they are possible.
Others, however, are slightly less likely! An ancient evil curse rising up to destroy the world or a Planet of the Apes-like scenario where primates rise up to overthrow us probably won’t happen. 888poker has a great infographic on the subject, and it’s actually fun seeing the odds of the various events taking place.
Why is the genre so popular?
Look, no one wants their closest family to turn into flesh-eating zombies or to spend the rest of their lives trapped in a nuclear bunker, so why do we love to hear about it so much?
There seems to be two main reasons for this – the first is the attraction of there being no rules. Many people find the modern nine-to-five daily grind so dull that the prospect of no boss, no work to rush to, or even no bins to take out is alluring.
The second reason is the lure of being able to reinvent yourself. Sure, you might be Joe Average who works in a boring office job now, but when the time comes, you could be anything you like. You might even be the chosen one who rises from the ashes to rebuild humanity!