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Chernobyl, In Games and In Real Life

Soulskill posted about 8 months ago | from the unique-spookiness dept.

Games 20

An anonymous reader writes "Nick Rush-Cooper has an insightful article at Rock, Paper, Shotgun about his visits to Chernobyl. He's made many such trips for research purposes, and he's mapping radiation levels in the Exclusion Zone, which can 'vary by tenfold or more over the space of less than a meter.' But he's also a gamer, and he's played S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl and other titles that take place there. He writes about the unusual perspective this afforded him: 'If you travel and recognize something you have seen in a film, that's visual recognition. You're seeing something you have seen before. With games it's a recognition of experience, not just a visual memory of a three dimensional space, but the sense of being somewhere you have been before. Even in Call of Duty 4, which uses Pripyat just as much as an aesthetic choice with little meaning as many movies have, its shooting gallery still requires the player to think of Pripyat as a space that requires positioning; identifying firing lines and choke points. It wasn't until I was actually in the Zone myself that I realized to what extent the games manage to capture the sense of the Pripyat landscape itself as a malevolent, even antagonistic, presence. Of course, guided tours in a hot, sunny summer bear little resemblance to Stalker's world. But, as an invisible presence known only through little blinking, chattering devices, I never really got used to radiation during my two-dozen trips to the Zone.'"

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It is weird. Even if it's largely inaccurate. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47004333)

I had a vague sense of where I was the first time I was in San Francisco, merely because I had played San Andreas.

For a real trip, though, play Fallout 3, then go through the DC metro system.


Re:It is weird. Even if it's largely inaccurate. (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 8 months ago | (#47006747)

Hell, I remember when I was in Paris... I found a catacombs entrance without looking up directions simply because I recalled the intersection mentioned in Deus Ex.

(heh of course that one was completely wrong once you are down there)

Re:It is weird. Even if it's largely inaccurate. (1)

AlterEager (1803124) | about 8 months ago | (#47008065)

For a real trip, though, play Fallout 3, then go through the DC metro system.

You stole my comment, you bastard.

But you're seriously right there.

I def. get that feeling of having "been there"... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47004421)

...every time I see photos or video of Pripyat, etc. (long-time S.T.A.L.K.E.R. fan here).

I love that video games can do that--allow someone to explore a place they'd probably mostly want to avoid (or can't afford to visit) in RL from the safety and in-expense of their own domicile.

"Look, ma! The Elephant's Foot!!!" :)

Sad place, great for shootouts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47004477)

It's always nice to murder dome chaps and then pinpoint on Google Earth the window I shot them from.

STALKER PC Game Series (4, Interesting)

JakFrost (139885) | about 8 months ago | (#47004591)

The STALKER PC game series is my favorite single-player first person shooter type series of all time. The spooky atmosphere created in the game is just fantastic when you play the game in a darkened room at night. I would highly recommend the games to everyone.

The book A Roadside Picnic [amazon.com] is also pretty good giving you a nice emotional ride of what it's like be a Stalker and to go into the zone. The old black and white movie Stalker [imdb.com] is somewhat good in giving you some background about the Zone but it's nothing to the atmosphere that you feel in the games when you play.

STALKER Game Website [stalker-game.com]

Stalker Wiki [wikia.com]

Also be sure to check out these mods:
STALKER - Shadow of Chernobyl
Oblivion Lost 2.2.1 for 1.0005 [filefront.com] - Forum Thread [gsc-game.com]
Supermod Pack v2.4 and Patches [gsc-game.com]

STALKER - Clear Sky
The Faction War v3.7 [gsc-game.com]

Re:STALKER PC Game Series (1)

zhrike (448699) | about 8 months ago | (#47005087)

Right on, brother! I know I'm doing a "me, too" post, but my experience with the game led me to the Stalker film (only part of it isn't in color - the beginning is sepia, but the zone is color) and Roadside Picnic as well, and I've played the vanilla game and every mod I could get my hands on multiple times. I bought the game when it was an entity unknown on a lark at a goodwill. I recently bought it again on steam though I still own the original - just in case the original devs get some of that money. Faction Wars, which I think was rolled into the Supermod pack, was one of the coolest. I played OL 1.4, 2.0, 2.2, AMK, ABC Inferno, Proboi's Story, Rebalanced, and probably others I can't recall. It was the first game I'd ever played so many times through with so many mods. Probably still is.

That said, I definitely get that "been there" feeling whenever I see images or video of Pripyat and the areas around the power station. I'd still love to visit, too.

Re:STALKER PC Game Series (1)

JakFrost (139885) | about 8 months ago | (#47006517)

Yes, the STALKER game series including the mods are worthy of multiple replays because it's like watching a great old movie that you once saw except that playing these games you get the same sense of emotional reminiscence but the experience changes every single time you play them, especially if you apply some of the better mods to them like the ones that you mentioned.

I sometimes like to fire up these old games and go wondering around the game areas again just for the nostalgic effects just to see and feel the old areas in the games. No other games that I have played have had such a long lasting effect on me than these games.

I also grew up in Eastern Europe behind the Iron Curtain so the architecture, environments, personalities, vegetation, and atmosphere all remind me of my childhood. Couple that with my current involvement in real-steel military weapons and Airsoft weapons along with participating in MilSim operations in urban and forested areas and these STALKER games reinforce those old memories even more because they are even more relevant with new experiences.

Great game series. High recommended from an old PC game player.

I'll see about scheduling a trip out there to Chernobyl since it's just next-door to my old home country on my next time in Europe.

Re:STALKER PC Game Series (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47005707)

There's also Lost Alpha [moddb.com] , which is a recreation of an early S.T.A.L.K.E.R. alpha version. Many, many changes, so it's a must for any SoC fan. It's a full conversion and a stand-alone install but like any of the STALKER games it has its share of bugs. So... It's like visiting the zone for the first time all over again.

Re:STALKER PC Game Series (1)

zhrike (448699) | about 8 months ago | (#47007863)

Thanks for the reminder. I watched the development of that, and downloaded it when it was released, so I have it somewhere, but never installed it.

Re:STALKER PC Game Series (1)

Lotana (842533) | about 8 months ago | (#47006079)

Yeah. I still occasionally hear "Come in! Don't just stand there! COME IN!" sound when I try to fall asleep.

Person responsible for the design decision to have that play on every single fucking visit to the bar needs to have terrible things done to him.

Re:STALKER PC Game Series (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47006627)

Get out of here, stalker.

Re:STALKER PC Game Series (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 8 months ago | (#47007047)

The old black and white movie Stalker...

Most of it's in colour, as I recall.

Re:STALKER PC Game Series (1)

Totaku (897723) | about 8 months ago | (#47010429)

That's right - I think it changes once they enter the zone. A phenomenal and hauntingly beautiful film by the great Andrei Tarkovskiy.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079944/?ref_=nv_sr_1 [imdb.com]

Some interesting info, especially on production and health-related deaths due to the movie:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalker_(1979_film) [wikipedia.org]

Oh wow I know that place - feeling (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 8 months ago | (#47004987)

I've played games in an area, that I later recognized on TV or Google Earth years later. Finial Fantasy is a game like that, I can set battlefield or areas explored and the real life structure together; at least I did once seeing the structure on TV and knew it instantly. A game like Finial Fantasy you will know that area very well.

As mentioned CoD4 used Pripyat for many scenes for the single player. but only the swimming pool and buildings (Troop barracks) in the Multiplayer game play; only one map of Pripyat.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. has a new game pack... (2)

ClaudeVMS (637469) | about 8 months ago | (#47006163)

Shadows of Fukushima!!! LOL!!!

Flight Simulator (1)

braindrainbahrain (874202) | about 8 months ago | (#47007467)

I remember the first time I flew into San Francisco decades ago. I was looking out the window when I got a weird deja-vu feeling I had been there before (I hadn't). It dawned on me later that I had recognized the scenery from playing MS Flight Simulator and flying into SF from Oakland many, many times.

Mafia (PC) - Chicago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#47008173)

I was in Chicago last year walking around and had a strange feeling of familiarity; I recognized a section where the L train is elevated on wooden platforms, running above the street, and I thought "I've been here". I had been there before, whilst playing Mafia on PC years ago.


GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 8 months ago | (#47009527)


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