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Instant Expert
10 Games That Failed to Predict the Future
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on October 30, 2013   |   Episode 10 (Show Archive)  

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Quick, there's no time. Stockpile food, call your loved ones and dig hole! Because Y2K is coming!

Actually, Y2K has already come and gone, and those talking heads look pretty foolish these days. But they weren't alone, because plenty of classic video games predicted that 1999 would lead us straight into the open arms of the apocalypse ... or worse.

Zombie Nation is certainly the worst case scenario, as it predicts a meteor hits earth and quickly turns us all into zombies. And that's not all. The dastardly meteor shoots a laser at the Statue of Liberty and literally brings it to life. Thankfully the disembodied head of an old samurai hero shows up to save the day. Yeah, that Y2K thing isn't sounding too bad now, is it?

Wurm: Journey to the Center of the Earth also predicts doom and gloom in the year 1999, but not because of zombies and meteors. Instead it's a giant earthquake that sends our heroes scurrying underground to find a solution. As it turns out, they discover two races of subterranean humans that have been fighting a war underground. Phew. Also, Wurm stars Moby. No, really.

Of the games based in 1999, Smash TV comes the closest to reality. While we have yet see TV game shows devolve into the same level of senseless violence, the year 2000 did bring us Survivor. As television execs try to find the next big thing, they continue to push the limits of morals and taste. Could this style of TV competition really be far off?

2005 brought us the release of the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation Portable. It's the year John Roberts became the 17th chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and the White Sox won the World Series. 2005 is also the year Twisted Metal takes place. Set on Christmas Eve, this PlayStation launch game predicts that a magical psychopath will grant wishes based on the winner of an ultra-violent demolition derby competition. Or something like that. Either way, 2005 was a lot more peaceful than Twisted Metal would have you believe.

Super Glove Ball may be more peaceful than, say, cars blowing each other up, but that doesn't make Rare's prediction of 2005 any more accurate. This Power Glove-enhanced ball bouncing simulator takes place in outer space, where the shuttle commander has been trapped in a dimensional maze. The only way to get out is to fling balls at the wall using an expensive (and unreliable) NES accessory.

Fortunately, Rare's prediction of wall ball-loving aliens hasn't come true, but that's not to say that Super Glove Ball didn't accurately guess the future. Forget the silly science fiction story, Super Glove Ball will always be remembered for its use of motion controls, something that Nintendo built an entire console around in 2006. And let's not forget this demonstration of Kinect, with more than a passing similarity to Super Glove Ball.

When it came to telling a futuristic sci-fi story, most games had the good sense to either not mention a year or base it so far in the future that we would all be dead. Mega Man went a slightly different route. Instead of telling us exactly when the series takes place, Capcom opted to make things slightly more ambiguous by adding an X. As a result, the series takes place in the year 200X.

That means that Dr. Light's creation went head-to-head with all of those themed robots between the years 2000 and 2009. Here we are in 2013 and robots look more like Gerald Ford exiting Air Force One than Cut Man.

Of course, there are people that would argue that Mega Man was set in some alternate timeline where 200X isn't actually a decade ago. I'll entertain that theory, but warn you that this is not a thread you want to tug on. Spend too much time thinking about video game timelines and the whole thing will unravel.

And while we're on the subject, Double Dragon II: The Revenge ended up pulling the same stunt as the blue bomber. In reasons I'll never fully understand, this 1989 brawler takes place in 19XX. That ambiguous date suggests that Double Dragon II might have actually been a period piece, or maybe it's set in 1999. Either way, The Revenge happened a long time ago.

Not sure when Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight takes place? Well, then, I'm actually a little surprised you were able to start this video at all. It says right in the title. Set two decades in the future, this misunderstood Capcom action game suggests a world overflowing with aliens and people with bionic enhancements. Thankfully none of that came true. Instead of fighting monsters and trying to save the world, Ken spent 2010 bitching about Justin Beiber and joining the Tea Party.

Psychic Force 2012 was the same way. Released in 1998 in the arcades and one year later on the Sega Dreamcast, this Taito fighter boasts that it's set in the distant future. Unfortunately, the real 2012 didn't features fisticuffs over metropolitan cities.

And even though it doesn't feature a year in the title, let's finish off our list with a look at Dino Crisis 2, which took place on May 10th, 2010. Its success led to a sequel set in 2548, a year none of us will see. Perhaps by then all of these bold predictions will have come true.



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