Is it possible that video games can foretell events? The number of games that are set in a not-too-distant future make these parallels all the easier to draw. It may be eerie to discover that the makers of these games were thinking along the lines of how our world is progressing today, but not surprising given the current state. Video games are most definitely moving towards more accurately mirroring current events. Homefront Homefront a modern first-person shooter was released in 2011. Its plot revolves around a unified Korea as a dangerous superpower where tensions are high.
The game predicted the former leader Kim Jong-il’s death and his son Kim Jong-un rising to power and succeeding his father, and in turn uniting North and South Korea into the Greater Korean Republic (GKR). Although the online blackjack game is supposed to be set in an alternate reality, it did actually get several key historical plot points correct. What’s more, a look into the game’s backstory also reveals that it was eerily only a couple of weeks off from the date that Kim Jong-Il actually died, and also predicted that in 2013 the country would start nuclear tests, just a few short years after the game was released. This game is set in 2027, so hopefully, it isn’t right about anything else. Homefront’s plot includes predicted the collapse of the United States financial system in 2022 along with an Asian bird flu epidemic in the same year.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution It may be tough to reach back to the political landscape in the middle of 2011, but pretty much everyone thought the Liberals were basically done. They had just come off a huge, historic drubbing in the polls and Jack Layton’s NDP looked like it could move in as the opposition. Well, everyone thought that except for the creators of 2011’s Deus Ex: Human Revolution, a game produced in Montreal by Square-Enix. Deus Ex showed a future world 20 years in the future where people live as augmented cyborgs, a giant super city looms over Hong Kong and Justin Trudeau is the Prime Minister. Honestly, in 2011 that last one felt like the most unrealistic of those three. Near the end of the game, you pick up an email indicating that the Liberals have come back into power, and that Justin Trudeau is now the Prime Minister of Canada.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Protagonist Raiden comes face to face with Senator Steven Armstrong towards the end of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. The antagonist then utters this slogan word for word as he literally has Raiden under his foot, grinding it into his back and quite literally keeping a good man down. While Raiden is at his mercy, the Senator decides to launch into a monologue and share his vision for the America he wants to be a part of. It is, not surprisingly, revealed that Armstrong’s vision for Washington is a grim one, considering he is a villain in the game.
He proclaims, “The weak will be purged, and the strongest will fly, free to live as they see fit. They’ll make American great again!” This is probably one of the most accurate entries on here, with an actual presidential campaign echoing the same exact words. Metal Gear Solid 2 Kojima is at it again, with ties to NSA spying rising from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty’s plot line. Raiden’s portion of the game has the closest ties to real-life events. The plot between the Sons of Liberty is closely linked to the recent discovery that the NSA is spying on civilians, which was leaked by Edward Snowden.
Although the twist does go a bit too far, there are some solid parallels to today’s current situation. The game began by touching on the Patriot Act, which in a post 9/11 United States would place civilians under much greater surveillance than before. In addition, the Selection of Societal Sanity program also seems to mirror the NSA’s PRISM system which is able to monitor everyone and see whatever they are doing. Madden EA’s Madden games provide a prediction of who is going to win the Super Bowl each year.
The game has a super impressive track record of successfully predicting the outcome of the Super Bowl nine out of thirteen times. This is not a perfect prediction record, of course, but they did get fairly close to the actual scores of the game. They may, in fact, run better without any players taking part. Madden also touts one of the most accurate player ranking systems out there right now.
EA’s simulations are, “…pretty straightforward,” says Josh Rabenovets, the senior brand director at Electronic Arts for Madden. They run one game, extensively recording the results and tracking all manner of statistics, which they then publish online alongside footage of the in-game events. “We don’t do much to it,” he says.
“We just show it like it is.” He states, according to an interview on Wired. This year’s Madden simulation also correctly predicted the results of the Super Bowl LI with a Patriots victory. Ghost Recon Tom Clancy had a proclivity for stuffing his books full of intense, detailed politics and military strategy, so the fact he so accurately predicted the conflict between Russia and Georgia isn’t all that surprising. Again, law of averages and monkeys on typewriters tells us if you toss out an ample number of ideas, eventually one of them will stick. Tom Clancy’s books were so chock full of bizarre instances of conflict between governments and military organizations, it’s surprising we haven’t seen more clairvoyance on his part.
What was surprising in this particular case was Ghost Recon’s timeline accuracy. A game about deploying America’s elite fighting force known as Ghosts to deal with a Russian nationalist threat seeking to rebuild the Soviet Union, the game took place in 2008 — exactly the same year armed conflict sparked between the two countries. On top of his weird prediction, it’s worth noting that Ghost Recon released in 2001, seven years before its plot would come to fruition in the real world.
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 Command & Conquer Red Alert 2 is a real-time strategy video game that was released for PC on October 23rd, 2000, a little under a year before the events of 9/11 happened. After the attack transpired, the game’s cover art was pulled and remodeled to remove the depiction of a plane headed towards a burning World Trade Center. The American flag on the front cover was also replaced with the image of a mushroom cloud. Shortly after, EA offered individual retailers an opportunity to swap out their original box art copies with ones that contained the revised image.
However, even though the box art was revised, the World Trade Center was still present in the game’s campaign. It is very eerie that such a specific depiction was featured on the game’s cover art, especially with the attack happening such a short time later. Deus Ex Part-prediction, part-bizarre coincidence, the PC stealth action thriller Deus Ex accurately predicted the destruction of the twin towers on September 11, 2001. The biggest piece of evidence comes during the first level, wherein the Twin Towers are noticeably absent from the New York skyline.
Dig through enough messages on computer terminals, and you’ll find several references to terrorist attacks on US soil, specifically in New York City. The real reason is far less inflammatory and comes down largely to restrictions caused by tech limitations. The visuals were limited by memory capacity in those days, and in an effort to conserve space, the developers decided to simply omit the towers and instead create an in-universe reason for their absence. This prediction is merely the more overt aspect of Deus Ex’s precognition, however. Read through newspaper clippings in the game, and you’ll see discussions about class, populism, Occupy Wall Street-style rhetoric, and debates surrounding the ethics of surveillance and its impact on freedom. It’s not unusual for science fiction to project political sentiments and present us with possible outcomes — both good and bad.
Smash TV We’re not quite at the point of having all-out murder contests on live television, but things like Running Man, Death Race 2000, and The Hunger Games expose our borderline creepy obsession with seeing ‘reality’ on television. Smash TV was one of the first video games to expand on this idea, framing an all-out murder fest as live entertainment for the whole family to enjoy on TV. It predicted a very specific type of reality television: contest-based shows where contestants took a step beyond typical game show fare by being transported to a new location and practically immersed in the competition.
Surprisingly, Smash TV’s vision of a future in which people willingly placed themselves on-camera for tests of strength and skill emerged in 1990, a full ten years before Survivor’s debut. This would later expand into other shows like The Real World, The Amazing Race, Ru Paul’s Drag Race, and even The Bachelor.