For the media-related blog post, I chose to relay the idea of Dark Ecology and what we’ve been studying in class to a media that I’m quite familiar with: video games. Specifically, the universe of Fallout.
The main story of Fallout is told through the eyes of a survivor after a nuclear fallout. As you trek through the remains of towns and modern civilization, you come across gross, hostile mutants that you must fight against for your life. Sometimes you come across raiders and other unfriendly characters that want nothing more than your life and whatever material possessions you managed to scrounge for on your search for stability. There are a few settlements that one can encounter throughout the game, doing their best to return to normalcy despite the conditions.
Now, we can consider Mary Shelley’s The Last Man. This is another story that takes place in the apocalypse. There are some notable differences that we must take into regard: Fallout‘s apocalypse is due to a nuclear bombing, Last Man‘s is due to a plague. There is also no threat from hostile beasts as much in Shelley’s work than in the video game.
However, both worlds hold the earth in a sort of weird sort of romantic sense of beauty. The world as humanity knew is gone, yet the nature around it still prevails in ways that man must ignore for the sake of survival. While Fallout natural environment does suffer in a vast contrast to Shelley’s, it still functions for basic resources rather than appreciation of the aesthetic.
In both media, most of humanity has lost the sense of order/civilization. Class systems depend on where the person is; a vagabond would be a valued member in a group because they know places that provide even temporary shelter and resources. In settlements, people fight and declare themselves leaders because they were either already in positions of power or are known to be the most efficient.
The idea of humanity vs. the apocalypse is explored in the reactions of the masses — where will humanity go from there? Will they make it? The narrator of The Last Man makes a point to say that he does not know why God would do this to the world, and that his uncertainty goes on to question what his own fate would be. In Fallout, the player/protagonist does his own investigations and contemplation through his/her interactions with others in the aftermath world of what happened. Uncertainty is a common theme as both stragglers and settlement heads alike show their skepticism and desperation despite whatever progress that they seem to have made.
The featured image is of a landscape from the game, Fallout 4. It, in my opinion, shows a perfect example of how the post-apocalyptic world still holds great natural aesthetic while humanity suffers.