Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
It’s fun to toy with the idea of the fighting for survival in the aftermath of the nuclear apocalypse that could happen if Airman Snuffy accidentally launches some missiles and starts World War 3. Here are my top five post-apocalyptic video games to take your mind off of guarding those sweet, sweet nukes.
1. Fallout 2
Source FalloutSource Fallout
Fallout 2 is usually referenced by the community as the gold standard of the franchise. What is Fallout? The Fallout series started in the mid-1990s and was set in a resource-depleted retro-future, where the style of the 1950's never went away. Fallout can best be described as what the Truman administration imagined the future to be like.
Fallout 2 is set a generation after Fallout 1, and your main aim is to save your village from dying, due to the horrible environmental damage brought about by nuclear weapons and weaponized viruses. The writing in the game is magnificent, with hundreds of characters to make the world feel truly real.
What distinguished Fallout 2 from other post-apocalyptic digital romps were the sheer number of quests you could do. You could become a karate master in the ruins of San Francisco, or become an evil Corleone-esque crime lord in the ruins of Reno.
Fallout 2 was powered by cultural references. Characters in the game would sling quotes from “Dune” and some easter eggs included nods to Monty Python and Star Trek. If you wandered the right part of the wasteland you would even find a wrecked Star Trek shuttle, where you could pick up a functioning phaser from a dead red-shirt. Fantastic.
2. Metro 2033
Have you ever wondered what would happen to Russia after we nuked it back into the Stone Age? Well, I sure have, and if Metro 2033 is any indication, the post-apocalypse is just as weird in Russia as you would expect.
The Metro system in Moscow was designed to become a fallout shelter in the event of a nuclear war. After the bombs drop the denizens of Metro 2033 start to break off into various factions, fighting to control the resources of the shelters that survived. At one point you find yourself stuck between hard-line Communists and murderous Fascists fighting an underground war in the Russian subway system, ala World War 2. And then the mutants show up. Not only is this game a gem to look at, it is genuinely scary. Also, a cool feature is the option to use bullets as currency. Screw that bottlecap nonsense from Fallout, in the apocalypse, ammo is king.
3. Fallout: New Vegas
Fallout New VegasFallout New Vegas
A relatively recent edition compared to Fallout 2, New Vegas featured high-end graphics and a first-person shooter mentality that built off of the success of its predecessor, Fallout 3. The game suffered from software bugs when it was released, impacting reviews and sales, but once it was playable, the story hooked everyone that looked at it sideways. The game starts with you, playing the silent protagonist, The Courier, getting bushwhacked and left for dead for reasons unknown.
Eventually, the game unfolds three major factions and a pile of smaller ones. One faction consists of Caesar’s Legions, an army made up of slaves and tribal warriors. The New California Republic, who seemed to be trying to rebuild the old world out of the ashes of the new one, and a shadowy figure that started your quest in the first place.
4. S.T.A.L.K.E.R series
Stalker was one of those games you heard about from your friend who wore black all the time, and you were like, yeah sure I’ll check it out when it is on sale. Then one day you downloaded it and three days later you are late for work. Metro 2033 borrowed a ton from Stalker, notably the mutants who were weird and terrifying as you navigated the open world of a nuclear disaster in Ukraine. The game was a blend of Fallout: New Vegas and Metro 2033, except it was less funny and more terrifying. Even if the monsters didn’t get you, the other humans sure would.
5. Mad Max
Mad MaxMad Max
And for the final one, Mad Max, also known as that game where I punch people in the desert then hit them with my car.
Mad Max the video game had every right to be terrible, but it wasn’t. You start the game beating the snot out of someone, and from there you just drive like a madman and punch like an Aussie until the world sort of sorts itself out.
If I hadn’t seen the films I suppose I would have just assumed that this was how most of Australia was on a Wednesday, simply from the Aussie officers I went on TDY with in California back in the day.
A enlisted thinktank brought to you by Task & Purpose
MONS, Belgium (Reuters) - The United States will send 20,000 troops to Europe next April and May in its biggest military exercises on European soil since the Cold War to underscore Washington's commitment to NATO, a senior allied commander said on Tuesday.
Days after a NATO summit in London at which U.S. President Donald Trump called low-spending European allies "delinquent", U.S. Major General Barre Seguin said the exercises, centered on Germany, will be the largest of their kind in 25 years.
"This really demonstrates transatlantic unity and the U.S. commitment to NATO," Seguin, who oversees allied operations from NATO's military headquarters in Belgium, told Reuters.
Gold Star family members might finally see an end to the so-called "Widows Tax" thanks to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020.
The top Pentagon watchdog has announced it would be investigating all deaths of recruits during initial military training over the past five years, the agency said in a statement last week.
In a Dec. 4 memo, the DoD Inspector General said it was changing the scope of an investigation it had opened on Nov. 18 that was titled Evaluation of Medical Resources and Guidance to Trainers at Recruit Training Centers in the DoD. Its new title, the IG said, would be Evaluation of Medical Protocols and Deaths of Recruits in the DoD.
While its original objective of looking into the medical resources available to recruits would remain the same, the IG said it would now also review all deaths of recruits at military basic training facilities between Jan. 1, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2019.
The move comes in the wake of several deaths at basic training facilities over the past year. In April, the Navy announced a safety review after two prospective sailors died at its recruit training facility in Great Lakes, Illinois. Seaman Recruit Kelsey Nobles died after a fitness test that month; Seaman Recruit Kierra Evans also died after the run portion of the fitness test.
In September, an 18-year-old soldier died following a "medical emergency" before a training drill at Fort Jackson, S.C.
Meanwhile, the Marine Corps has disciplined more than 20 Marines over misconduct at its San Diego boot camp since 2017, according to The Washington Post. The action came in the wake of a scandal involving the death of a 20-year-old Muslim recruit named Raheel Siddiqui, who fell 40 feet to his death at the Parris Island training facility, where he and other Muslims were targeted for abuse by their drill instructor (the instructor was later sentenced to 10 years in prison at court-martial).
According to the IG, Pentagon investigators will visit all DoD recruit training facilities and interview personnel from each service's education and training commands. They will also speak with personnel at military medical facilities, the Defense Health Agency, and those assigned at the Military Entrance Processing Command, which does the initial intake for civilians going into military service.
The number of substantiated allegations of sexual misconduct against senior Army officials increased this year, according to an Army Inspector General report recently presented to service leaders and obtained by Task & Purpose.
The document, which lays out broad details of IG investigations undertaken in fiscal year 2019, looks at investigations specific to senior Army officials, which includes "promotable colonels, general officers and senior executives," according to Army spokesman Lt. Col. Emanuel Ortiz.
Marine Corps senior leaders have begun to express cautious openness to the idea of making the service's boot camps fully co-ed. But if Congress has its way, the service may be pushed toward full integration sooner than expected.
The final conference version of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act includes a provision that would require the service to integrate both its East Coast and West Coast entry-level training facilities within the next eight years.