The 80’s what’s there not to love? Well a lot of things really, but it’s the horrible parts of the 80’s that made the rest of it possible. The introduction of crack cocaine, the financial crisis, the corruption of authority, AIDS, racism left over from the civil rights movement, the cold war, and the list just keeps going, but out of that decade came movies, TV, and games that we tend to ironically love. However what is often lost to us when it comes to our ironic love is that all the things we enjoy were, for the most part, coping mechanisms.
I often tend to think of RED DAWN when I think of the coping mechanisms of the 80’s. The story is one that most of us know even if we have never watched it, and as someone whose father idolized that movie, I probably know it better than most. In case you don’t know, the plot basically boils down to “The Soviet Union and Nicaragua invade America and some plucky teenagers in Colorado use guerilla tactics to fight them.” Now we’re going to ignore the major logistical issues that arise from invading America in any way shape or form, let alone it being a surprise like it is in the movie. That way we can focus on the subtext of the movie itself, and what is that subtext? Fear, the people who made RED DAWN were scared. It’s easy to look back nowadays and call them paranoid nutters, but for all, or most of their lives they were told that at any moment they could be annihilated by a giant explosion. Nuclear war was a real threat. It isn’t like it is nowadays with North Korea being laughable as a world power/threat to freedom, world security, puppies, and apple pie to the point that they’re less of a country and more of a cheap punch line. No, this was the Soviet Union, the people who were instrumental in stopping the Nazis, a country with a massive army and a government who was willing and able to just throw people at their enemy until they ran out of bullets. They beat us in the space race, they built and tested the biggest baddest nuclear bomb the world had ever seen, the government saw their people as a means to an end, they were cold, cruel, demonstrably vicious, and they were (and Russia still is) one of the Big Five in the U.N. (and I know that the U.N. is bordering on being irrelevant seeing as they’re largely ignored, but to the common person it’s still a pretty big deal). So the idea of being super murdered by them seemed viable. Mind, with the benefit of hindsight we can see that by the times the 80’s rolled around the Soviet Union was falling apart, but that’s hindsight, we’re talking about 1984. People were scared, but instead of cowering and hoping that the government would take care of everything they stood up and yelled “BRING IT OOOOOOONNN!” and much of the media was the portrayal of that attitude. The fear had reached the point where we could no longer be afraid. We decided as a country “If you wanna send us to hell, then we want company!” and when this attitude gets funny is when it reaches an irrational extent.
That’s what I think is missing in FarCry 3: Blood Dragon, the fear, the hatred, the unwillingness to curl up and die and the desire to die fighting. Without that all it can do is just point and laugh at the 80’s and in doing so the game comes off as insufferably smug. The creator of Blood Dragon has already expressed interest in creating a sequel, and if he can emulate the psychological thought process of being too scared to be scared and just wanting a glorious death, then they’ll have good comedy on their hands, but as is at best they’ll be wallowing in mediocrity and the Blood Dragon’s possible sequel will be poorer for it.