Differentiating the Apocalypse

The core concept of Walkabout is "Mad Max meets Tank Girl, via the Aboriginal Dreaming". However different people will be getting different ideas from the notions of "Mad Max", "Tank Girl" and "Aboriginal Dreaming". The three concepts get us into a ball park, and the general ball park is where any of the two circles overlap, while the specifics is where all three overlap...

Mad Max + Tank Girl
A world where the technology of the past is decaying but still dangerous in the right hands. A world where a few people still hold most of the power by using a combination of charisma, fear-mongering, and lackeys who don't know better. Vast deserts, ecological disaster. Vehicles play an important and defining role in characters lives. 

Tank Girl + Aboriginal Dreaming
Talking animals (although in Tank Girl it's mostly the rippers). Things are rarely what they seem at the surface at first glance. There's a funny side to the events, and it's often through this humour that deeper lessons are conveyed. There's a surreal nature to the events unfolding around the characters.

Aboriginal Dreaming + Mad Max
The environment plays a key role in the stories, and the characters have as deep a connect to the world around them as they have to each other (this is particularly notable in Fury Road, but can also been seen with characters connections to places in Beyond Thunderdome). Verbal lore passed down through generations.  

Mad Max + Tank Girl + Aboriginal Dreaming
Australia. The Outback.

The overlap between those three still gives us the overall vibe of the setting...

...however, a few key elements of post apocalyptic media can inform specific concepts withn the game as I'm currently seeing it. A few of these ideas have been a part of the Walkabout project since the beginning, others have become a good fit as the game concept has evolved.

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds
This is once of the defining post-apocalyptic anime. It's been years since I watched it, but has themes of surviving in a dangerous world. In this case 1000 years after an apocalyptic event, and the apocalypse has left a lethal jungle rather than a desert wasteland. This can be utilised in Walkabout to show that not all of the world is desert, but the danger is still apparent even when the land is green. We see elements of psychic powers, mutated monsters, poisoned soil, technologies from advanced parts of the world, and an underlying theme of restoring the world to harmony through non-violent acts. These are all essential in a Walkabout story, and the underlying Shinto sensibility relating people to the spirits of places, objects, and the stories that bind them has some strong parallels to the nature of the Aboriginal Dreaming (both drawing from shamanic traditions is a key factor here, but trying to link the belief patterns more deeply than this could be problematic, so I'll leave it there). 

Dirt Farmers, Rust Scavengers, and Neo-Tribals are could all benefit from the injection of ideas from this film.    

Twisted Metal
Walled enclaves using outsiders to deliver messages, medicines, and other supplies. Bizarre cults driven by charismatic warlords with their own agendas. Things that are just wrong, and folks who are just trying to survive in a world that's gone to hell. This is certainly a useful flavouring element for a number of elements in Walkabout. Most notably as I watched it, the settlement within the Truck convoy was pretty much what I had in mind for the Nomads In fact, even though the setting is only a decade or so after its apocalypse, the larger walled enclaves work well as a parallel for the Clean Born, the survivors around them and the smaller enclaves work as Dust Scavengers, folks living on their own work as Dirt Farmers, while Preacher and the "Holy Men" work as the kind of post-apocalyptic cultists I've been thinking of in the setting. Again, it has the "vehicles as characters" idea, and having the vehicles tell a story of their own trough relationships to the characters. We could even consider "Preacher" and "Sweet Tooth" to be proto-mutants with quasi-supernatural powers. While thinking about Walkabout, this show was a pretty good find.

I can only really go on the TV series at this point, I haven't played much of the game (and it was years ago when I did). We've got vault dwellers, mutants, tainted lands, surviving scavengers, and a vast conspiracy in the background. All of this works well, and the regression to 1950s technology along with nuclear devastation fits the concept of Walkabout well. Much like Twisted Metal, there is a remnant military/law-enforcement group in the setting that doesn't really have an analogue in Walkabout as I've currently described it, but that was always something I had in the back of my mind to add into the mix.  There isn't really as much spirituality in Fallout (as much as I'm aware so far), but weirdness is certainly present, and this is perhaps more-so than "Mad Max" or "Tank Girl", so it's a good flavouring agent for what we're aiming for. Dark technologies of the past driving the apocalypse onward are certainly the kind of vibe we need.

The Book of Eli
Stories are important, despotic warlords make those stories even more important. Eli is a drifter, and he aims to set things right. This is basically how I see the characters in Walkabout, except that they roam the world in small groups rather than alone. It's a staple of Post-Apocalyptic fiction, but this movie does it well and nails the kind of scenes I'm hoping Walkabout will recreate. However, instead of the book as biblical stories, the Wayfarers in this game will be carrying more ancient stories of spirituality and harmony with the land, the people, and everything around them. Violence only promotes violence, and it takes deeper consideration and digging to the root of problems to properly solve them.   

The Postman
See the Book of Eli above... for stores and despotic warlords. Most of the folks in this are Rust Scavengers and Dirt Farmers, but that's what most of the folks are in Walkabout. There's a community near the end of the film based out of a hydro-electric dam, and this is exactly the kind of settlement I can see happening in Walkabout. I don't like how the end of the movie basically resets the world back to "modern/pre-apocalyptic" sensibilities, but it's the kind of thing that the charaters in this setting might be aiming for.  

The Maze Runner / Attack on Titan / Divergent / Doomsday

As much as it might be tempting to add media like these into the mix, once you get past the first twists in each of the storylines, they just don't really fit at all. In each case the setting of the story is a walled region where the rest of the world is basically going on as normal outside... and the characters are a part of a massive experiment (or quarantined for some other reason otherwise). There's too much baggage in each of these to really apply much into the Walkabout setting.

The aim here is not to throw every post-apocalyptic media into the mix and the kitchen sink, but to choose specific elements from different media, and to consider which bits work with and overlap with other elements to give players and narrators the right ideas. All this while remaining true to our original source concepts. 



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