More images to inspire non-pessimistic post-apocoplytic games

I wrote last time about how I wanted a less depressing post-apoc RPG then Fallout and most modern ones. It was an appealing setting when I was a lonely teenager or undergrad, but now that I’ve got a partner I want to spend my life with, a life I don’t hate and so forth, the end of the world is a lot less appealing.

So I thought I would post some of the pictures that bring up the old fantasy of wandering through a ruined city and finding useful things to help my community out, that don’t depress me at the same time. Spending too much time on Tumblr has inspired this somewhat, particularly after discovering it has RSS feeds.

A figure with long hair and an open jacket, seen from behind overlooking a small town. No other people can be seen, though there is smoke coming out of one of the buildings. The town is in forested mountains. The image starts in dark purples at the bottom of the image and uses a gradiant to become pale pink at the top, implying sunset.
This is an image from an RPG named Alice is Missing, played entirely via text message, which is a damn cool idea. While there is nothing post-apocalyptic about the image it gives me the feel I want for a cozy, cooperative post-apocalypse game.

The above image, found on Tumblr, is one of the inspirations for this series of posts. I don’t know why, the town is clearly meant to be inhabited, but I looked at it and thought about how peaceful it would be to be a lone traveller after the end, coming across a nearly untouched town in the pacific northwest or a similar region. That or possibly this person is coming home after a trip to the outside world and is taking a moment to enjoy the view of the town? Something about it just strikes me as peaceful and the fact there is only one person shown is striking.

“Fire Truck” by Huhsoo.
I don’t know if this is fanart, or was done for The Last of Us, but it is surprisingly peaceful in how it shows nature reclaiming the town.

I like how this shows nature reclaiming a city: Usually when I see post-apocalyptic artwork, the focus is on broken buildings falling apart, but not how beautiful the nature reclaiming it can be.

This art is apparently by Johnny Bruck

This one is more silly, as is obvious. Levity is a great way to keep games from becoming depressing, and honestly, this picture is hard to take seriously.

Published in: on November 6, 2021 at 6:56 pm  Comments (2)  
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  1. “It was an appealing setting when I was a lonely teenager or undergrad, but now that I’ve got a partner I want to spend my life with, a life I don’t hate and so forth, the end of the world is a lot less appealing.”

    I’m probably a bit older than you (born in the early 70s), but I understand this sentiment: for me, I find much of the “dark” and “hate-filled” music of my youth to be far less appealing since achieving a happy and satisfactory life. Hell, these days I tend to spend a lot of time surfing the Yacht Rock station just for its soothing, stress-free vibes.

    But the PA genre (and end-of-the-world imagery) has always exercised an attraction/repulsion effect on me, probably because it filled me with such fear as a child…growing up in the 80s the concept of a post-nuke world was not one of “adventure” but A) considered a real possibility with B) nothing but the promise of a miserable existence (and ultimately horrible death) for the survivors. You saw this in film, literature, and television. GW, for all its “wa-hoo” moments, had quite a bit of darkness…and GW was ostensibly science fiction (being set after the apocalypse of a far future society).

    So PA images of peace and levity are nice (I like them, too), but they don’t quite excise my demons…since they’re not based on feelings born of youthful alienation. Instead, they only somewhat gloss over the thought of “yeah, it’s peaceful NOW, but what about directly after the end with people dying of radiation poisoning and resorting to cannibalism?” Those thoughts, I’m afraid, will never quite leave my subconscious.

    • Yes, you’d be quite a bit older then me, I was born after the fear of nuclear war ended, but grew up reading from my Dad’s science fiction collection, and Andre Norton and John Wyndham were big influences on how I envision the genre, long before I was exposed to Fallout or Mad Max.

      I agree, there is always some darkness in the setting that is hard to ignore. I just was thinking about doing games about exploration and travel outside of a traditional fantasy setting, and post-apocalypse is a good one for that. But I found a lot of the stuff about the setting I used to like no longer had the appeal, so I went looking for other inspiration.

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