Since the start of humanity, people have been trying to figure out when it will all end. There's just something about existence that isn't satisfying without slapping an expiration date on it. Theories have been presented in religious texts, scientific studies, and the mumblings of the homeless. Sadly, all predictions have fallen short as we're still here. Where can we turn for an accurate account of what will happen next? Try your favorite virtual world. Videogames have been acting as prophetic pieces of pop culture since their initial development. Need proof? Urban Strike, released in 1994 on the Sega Genesis, created a timeline for 2001 that included an attack on the World Trade Center. The Madden series has accurately predicted the actual Super Bowl with relative accuracy in six out of the past eight years. There have even been prophecies made that we failed to heed, like The Secret of Monkey Island's warning to "never pay more than twenty dollars for a videogame." Games have been delivering prophecies since their creation. Maybe it's time we start listening.
Videogames have been acting as prophetic pieces of pop culture since their initial development.
Rubbing the crystal ball of gaming reveals these next few years are going to be some busy ones in terms of military conflicts. After more than twenty years of relative peace between the United States and Russia, war is a total inevitability for the super powers. Ace Combat: Assault Horizon tells a tale of an insurgent uprising that takes place within Russian borders. The events take place in the year 2015, only one year after the events of Battlefield 3, which predicts tensions between the US and Russia after a Russian national uses a hostile militia in Iraq to target US troops and eventually Paris and New York. Even Battlefield 3's biggest rival in the FPS genre, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, tells a similar story in which Russia is overtaken by a group of nationalistic rebels. Would two games competing for players and audience deliver a similar message if it weren't a warning of looming worldwide conflict? I think not.
If you think global warfare is the biggest issue facing us in the coming decade, it's time to think bigger. Like, interstellar space combat big. Earth Defense Force 2017 tells us that we're in for a visit from some unfriendly extraterrestrials. North Americans, don't start stocking up on canned goods and bottled water or digging bomb shelters just yet - this attack will focus on Japan. The problem this presents, though, is that it could interfere with some extremely important research that is taking place under the shores of the Land of the Rising Sun.
According to Ever17, a research facility based in an underwater laboratory in Japan has developed a deadly manmade virus known as Tief Blau. Its name is very hard to pronounce, which gives an idea of just how serious it is. They will lose containment of the disease in 2017. Of course, if one could harness such a disease and release it in specific, highly populated areas it could be used as a weapon of bioterrorism, a ploy that probably sounds familiar to players of Trauma Center: Under the Knife. That game features just such a disease, known as GUILT because its full name would take a full week to say aloud. The year the GUILT outbreak began? 2018, giving an evil mastermind just enough time to manipulate strands of Tief Blau and release it on the public. Luckily, medical sciences will have cured AIDS and cancer by then, so the technology will exist to combat these manmade pathogens.