Sci-Fi ideas that are starting to get old.
Do you remember the first time you watched Alien? It was a terrifying experience for myself. The Thing was another movie which pulled my stress cord to the breaking point. Then, there were Sci-Fi (Science Fiction) movies with less horror elements and more action, such as Independence Day. When I experienced Sci-Fi for the first time, I was astonished, but did not give much thought toward the reasoning behind the movies. You do not focus on the logic or realism in a movie, you simply want to enjoy it, let your emotions take over you.
Sci-Fi tastes bland…
Today, I am fed up with a lot of Sci-Fi. I can no longer ignore certain elements which are blatantly making things impossible for the humans. Nor can I ignore how many times human stupidity can cause some monstrosity to be released onto a station/ship. Over the recent years, Hollywood has spat numerous movies where aliens have become superior to humans in every single way, except for that one weakness.
You might think this is not a “rant” on Video Games but the Movies Industry. Think again. Sci-Fi games today repeat a lot of the elements that Sci-Fi movies use, almost to a fault. Some games focus on the horror elements, others on the action elements. In a lot of cases, neither is done to a level that would stir that anticipation I once had for the Head Spider in The Thing or the final fight in Predator. What is it that ticks me off the most? Read below.
1. Supermen Aliens and paper humans.
How many times did we go through the scenario of Aliens being superior to Humans in every single way? They either have the shields, the weapons or the armor to withstand our best weapons, or to mutilate us with extreme ease. Sometimes the setting plays a big role, like in the War of the Worlds. In the original, humans had muskets and cannons. The small flicker of hope and relief came when an Ironclad sacrificed itself by ramming into one of the alien tripods. When I watched Cloverfield I sat in disbelief when a direct carpet bombing did not even wound the creature. There is tough, and then there is silly tough.
It would not be intense, if the Aliens did not have an advantage from the very start. Creating aliens which are god-like though, creates a dull image of senseless slaughter. Another thing about aliens in a lot of games, is that they use surprisingly “Earth-Like” ideas of warfare. You do not see aliens trying to mind control the population into submission, or using a virus to wipe out the population. Instead, we see countless robots and soldiers charging into the human lines, forged from enough metal to make you wonder where did they bloody get so much of it.
Why not make an Alien attack start off with it being repelled by the humans, forcing a change in tactics and equipment? We could say the aliens are watching from afar and calculating carefully their campaign on earth. We could say, that they do have superior technology and equipment. My question is, why do they always attack?
2. Uzt Nus said “Kill ‘em all!”
Aliens want to kill everything. Who cares about the reason? Let’s do it anyway. It seems that in the future, Diplomacy will become a taboo topic and instead, waging large-scale wars will be the solution to everything. Aliens waging an all-out war on humanity, for no apparent reason, seems like faulty logic to me. If I were an alien Commander, I would first make contact with the humans. Perhaps, check-up on the mission statement, to learn why did I come here in the first place?
In a number of Movies, aliens were after something specific on earth. In a lot of games, they just want earth, for some reason. Perhaps Earth is the last habitable planet in the universe (unlikely) or the humans just look ugly, who knows? Credit has to go to Aliens which act as a Swarm, like the Aliens from the Alien vs Predator Series, the Zerg from Starcraft or the Tyranids from the 40K universe. Sometimes they are animals, which enjoy hunting for human prey. Sometimes, they exist to spread throughout the galaxy mindlessly. Humans then become an obstacle which has to be toppled over. Intelligent Aliens do not have the excuse of following their instincts. If an intelligent Alien was on the level of an intelligent human, there would not be immediate bloodshed, but a mission of discovery.
Why can’t humans in some way cause the conflict with the aliens? Perhaps they wanted to cheat them out of their partnership, or they wanted to profit off them? Maybe the Aliens were not exactly goody-two-shoes either. Throwing it all down the “Kill ‘em all” drain might save a lot of design dilemmas, but it does not create a satisfactory image of the conflict. It’s killing for killing’s sake.