Earthquakes are great and terrible forces, destroying homes, claiming lives, and reminding humanity as a whole that this planet we crawl across isn't as solid as it seems. The east coast of the U.S. found that out today. For the rest of us, there are video games.
While the rest of Kotaku's east coast crew were being evacuated during today's earthquake, down here in Atlanta the ground didn't budge. I was relieved, of course, but also a bit disappointed. I've never experienced an earthquake myself, and while that's a good thing, I can't help but be curious.
For now the extent of my experience comes from video games, so I've compiled a little list of 5.9 titles that have (or will have) helped define what an earthquake is for me. Flip through the gallery to check out games that can give you a little taste of what it feels like when terra firma gets a little less firma, and be sure to share your favorite earthquake gaming moments in the comments.
Not only did Irem's obscure 2003 PlayStation 2 survival game Disaster Report feature the relentless destruction of an artifical island via a semi-natural disaster, it also features some of the worst English voice acting of all time. By the end of the game you'll be wishing you hadn't helped save those people.
It wouldn't be a Sim game without giving the player the ability to harm his or her creations. The earthquake was just one of many disasters that plagued the tiny virtual people of SimCity over the years.
Perhaps this isn't the most dynamic example of tectonic plates grinding; at the time it was so very satisfying to set one off.
Crysis 2 not only attempted to depict as realistic a New York City as possible (with varying degrees of success), it then went on to attempt destroying said city as realistically as possible. Imagine how those folks that suffer from first-person shooter motion sickness must have felt!
The breath of God has the power to give earth and take earth away in Ubisoft's downloadable gem From Dust. As an all-powerful spirit helping your people make their way through a nature-ravaged world you'll not only encounter the effects of earthquakes, you're able to counter them as well, filling in gaps caused by those destructive forces.
Yes, I know this is technically a volcano game. I'll be sure to reference it the next time a volcano hits New York.
Motorstorm Apocalypse is a game that features daredevil racers speeding through a crumbling metropolis as the angry earth brings buildings tumbling down all around. It's so earthquake-centric that the game was delayed in deference to those affected by the tragic earthquake in Japan earlier this year.
LucasArts' futuristic shooter Fracture puts the power to move the earth in the hands of the player. Dig holes, raise mighty columns, and what the hell, we'll toss a little telekinesis in there for good measure. It turns you into a walking earthquake, before boring you to death with a generic story and disappointing with its ho-hum multiplayer.
The game never got much love at retail, but hey — that means it's really cheap right now.
And here's that .9 of a game I was talking about. As of this writing Battlefield 3 is still a ways from coming out, but at this point it's probably safe to say that it's at least 90 percent finished.
Another fine example of how bullets do absolutely nothing to an earthquake. Go ahead, try shooting it.