So, with S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 making an appearance on Xbox’s Games Showcase…
I thought it’d be a great time to revisit the novel, film, and game series that has defined a lot of Eastern European apocalyptic fiction.
Roadside Picnic is where the franchise truly starts. A novel written by the Strugatsky brothers in 1971 that famously had a incredibly tough time breaking through Soviet censors with how ambiguous the plot was. I think with the ending, you can totally see the anti-capitalist message at the end, but that’s just me. I’m not a Soviet censor.
The book is incredibly different from the rest of the franchise. It takes place in Canada instead of Europe or Chernobyl… And the global politics around the zone are a lot more front and center. The main character, Red, has a zombie for a dad, a monkey for a daughter, and if you touch cobwebs in the zone you die from heart failure or something… I think the book is worth the read, despite the disconnect.
The next piece is the film by Andrei Tarkovsky:
This film is a lot to ask of people. It’s weird, long, moody, thoughtful, depressing, and confusing… A lot of Stalker’s tone and set pieces come from this film, however. It’s on Criterion Channel, and I’d definitely give it a shot if you have the patience. It’s one of my favorite films for visuals alone, but I would totally understand why anyone would dip on it.
Music is incredible though:
And finally, we get to the GAMES by GSC Gameworld:
I think this video encapsulates what the games were all about.
With my next post, I’ll get into the modding scene. There’s a LOT to get into, and I don’t wanna put too much into the first post.