Fallen Earth: Poker Survived the Apocalypse
Good news – poker will survive the apocalypse! At least that’s how it goes in one vision of it. The massively multiplayer online game Fallen Earth.
Fallen Earth is a mature MMORPG which is set a couple of hundred years in the future. A virus causes havoc on earth, and the resulting finger pointing and political paranoia causes a nuclear war, which only a tiny percentage of humanity survices. The survivors are clustered around the area of the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon.
Most of the survivors were people who fled from Las Vegas – brining their poker chips with them. So, poker chips are now the de-facto currency. Fancy a fast horse to get around on (vehicles do exist, but gasoline is rather rare)? That’ll be 16 Blue Chips!
The non-player-characters (NPCs for short), can often be heard talking about blackjack and poker. The games have been passed down by word of mouth, and it sounds like they may have evolved a little – certainly, some of the characters are rather confused and think they’re playing UNO instead, but that’s good news, right? After all, if they’re not sure what they’re doing, it could be a nice soft crowd for a shark to exploit.
The game has lots of cultural references – everything from a tip of the hat to classic movies, such as a “Soylent Green” reference, to the names of the NPCs. During a quick walk around one of the game’s towns I bumped into a character with the surname Nguyen. Is he the fictional great-great-great grandson of a certain famous poker pro?
The emphasis in Fallen Earth is on combat, and on equipping yourself for combat. That said, there are social elements. You can play on Blackjack machines and slot machines. I tried the blackjack, and didn’t quite manage to beat the house, although that probably says more about the caffeine-deprived state I was in during my attempts at the game, rather than the odds offered by the blackjack machine.
If you’re interested in seeing a take on post-apocalyptic America (you have to take a break from freerolls sometimes, right?), there’s a ten day free trial running at FallenEarth.com. If you’re a first person shooter fan, or someone who likes the idea of MMOs but thinks that games such as World of Warcraft are too cute or kiddy, then Fallen Earth may well suit you. I’m certainly enjoying playing “spot the poker pro”, and laughing at the other cultural references.