Which dystopia has the best aesthetic?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by Atomic Postman, Jun 5, 2020.

  1. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Fossil

    Mar 16, 2013
    Since we are living in an existentially soul-carving near future dystopia right now, it got me thinking about dystopian aesthetics since ours are pretty shit here in real life. So, what are some favourites?

    I think my vote has to be City-17 and the Combine occupation from the Half-Life series. Half-Life in general is a great series but I love the Combine aesthetic, and I was really happy to see it come to fruition in high graphic fidelity in Alyx.

    The Citadel spiring out of the ground and dominating the city, the checkpoints and walls oppressively built over human architecture. Visually, it's both alien and also reminiscient of human cold brutalism. It's oppressive and also minimalistic, it doesn't look friendly or ergonomic to human usage. The decision to set HL2 in a vague, non-specific post-soviet eastern european country also hones in that theme of decaying totalitarianism quite well too, and it makes the outskirts as you escape the City very depressing and cold.









    A dystopian world wouldn't be without its state police, inhuman and uncaring for the life of its citizens. And for that, the Civil Protection and Overwatch are also excellently creepy designs.



    also as a bonus:

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2020
  2. TorontoReign

    TorontoReign BUY CONSUME SLEEP/10 Staff Member Moderator

    Apr 1, 2005
    Equlibirum is one that sticks out from my youth.


     
  3. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Fossil

    Mar 16, 2013
    Special shout-out goes to the "City of Glass" from Mirror's Edge. Perhaps it fails as a dystopia in that it looks like a city that would be neat to live in, but it's cool in its uniformity none the less.

     
  4. Hassknecht

    Hassknecht For hate's sake. Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Aug 16, 2010
    Gotta say any classic 90s cyberpunk like Johnny Mnemonic.

    He can carry 8 Gigs of data!
    Whoa!
     
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  5. TorontoReign

    TorontoReign BUY CONSUME SLEEP/10 Staff Member Moderator

    Apr 1, 2005
    That is a really good cheesy 90's movie right there. Might as well be a Shadowrun movie.
     
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  6. The Dopamine Cleric

    The Dopamine Cleric This ghoul has seen it all
    Orderite

    Nov 3, 2007
    Somewhere around this.

     
  7. ResetRPG

    ResetRPG Life! Is so hollow...

    89
    Dec 16, 2018
    The Fallout series EASILY takes the cake for me.
     
  8. TorontoReign

    TorontoReign BUY CONSUME SLEEP/10 Staff Member Moderator

    Apr 1, 2005
    Fallout is PA though unless you mean pre-war.
     
  9. ResetRPG

    ResetRPG Life! Is so hollow...

    89
    Dec 16, 2018
    Eh, I would consider Post Apocalyptic as Dystopian
     
  10. SquidVan

    SquidVan Literal Vampire Potbelly Goblin

    Jun 1, 2018
    Usually a dystopia is a state/society of great injustice and suffering of people. But other classifications say things such as limited resources, totalitarian government, large scale disasters, cults. Cyberpunk and cyberpunk-esque settings are good examples. Corporations rule the world, the working man can get fucked. Don't want to piss off the corporation that you're nearly literally wage slaved to because they could plant fake data on you, destroy records of your ID, etc. kinda shit.

    But yeah, one could argue that a post-apocalypse is a dystopia but usually people don't think of them as synonymous. We tend to associate it more with the idea that it's a lot like real life or plausible future life but with something twisted or corrupted such as a corrupt regime or mega corporations.
     
  11. TheGM

    TheGM The voice of reason

    Aug 19, 2008
    German Expressionism.

    I always liked the whole facade of neon lights that cover a monolithic steel and concrete tomb approach.
     
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  12. Hassknecht

    Hassknecht For hate's sake. Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Aug 16, 2010
    I guess that's true, and quite a few dystopias are post-apocalyptic to some degree, but a dystopia usually has some elements of functional and overarching societies. Also, dystopias are usually good ideas that became corrupted. Fallout is very balkanized and the most dystopian element is that the world at large is a radioactive hellhole, but that's not the fault of anyone currently alive. It's also not a good intention that got corrupted somehow, although the pre-war world would fit that part.
     
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  13. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Fossil

    Mar 16, 2013
    Yeah whilst post-nuclear or broadly post-apocalyptic can fall into the tent of "dystopia" I think the more common interpretation is some kind of organized society/state. That's the intention I had with this thread, anyway.

    Here's a question, Blade Runner is dystopian, right? Its strange because it isn't presented in the way that most dystopian sci-fi is (In terms of the oppression/awfulness and systemic issues being put forefront) but it does carry the hallmarks of it. We don't really find out much about how the state, if there is one, works there. It's not clear whether it's an AnCap world where the megacorps literally do run everything, or if there's a state that is just heavily influenced by them since there's a seemingly state police force (LAPD) and Replicants are outlawed. It's implied loosely that the off-world colonies are much nicer and that Earth is just sort of a craphole where people are left behind, but I don't know.
     
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  14. Hassknecht

    Hassknecht For hate's sake. Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Aug 16, 2010
    Blade Runner seems pretty dystopian with its oppressive architecture, megacorps blaring advertisements at you, and the total collapse of the ecosystem.
     
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  15. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Fossil

    Mar 16, 2013
    Yeah, though I won't lie it is easily the most appealing dystopia visually haha. The asteriks on it is also whether its just Earth that is shafted and if life is actually good out there in space. I always think it's a neat detail that technically Blade Runner is a vast space sci-fi setting with dozens of colonies, but easily it could be bluster and life could be shitty out there. As old Roy so famously told us, there's a war going on amongst the colonies.
     
  16. Hassknecht

    Hassknecht For hate's sake. Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Aug 16, 2010
    Well, I think the offworld colonies aren't that swell, either. I mean, not just the whole kinda-sorta-slavery thing, but also the wars. Ever seen the movie "Soldier" with Kurt Russell? It takes place in the same universe as Blade Runner and shows the use of basically soldiers trained from birth, lots of battles, and discarding battle-tested veterans on a junk planet (and not only is there an entire planet for nothing but junk, there's also people living there, and the military just wants to eradicate them).

    The space battle scenes never made it into the movie, btw.
    I guess in Blade Runner Earth is just kinda the ass-end of the known universe, barely inhabitable anymore and kinda given up on by the governments. Maybe there is a government, but they just let the corporations who keep the colonies running rule Earth.
     
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  17. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Fossil

    Mar 16, 2013
    Well I don't think Earth is that backwater considering both Wallace and Tyrell had massive headquarters and lived there.
     
  18. TheGM

    TheGM The voice of reason

    Aug 19, 2008
    He probably changed his mind on this but I remember reading that Ridley Scott implied white people just up and left the planet and the reason dudes like Tyrell and Wallace are still there is because of the infrastructure. Kinda like how Detroit is steaming hellhole yet that is where the Major Automakers are located. probably cost a gazillion space shekels to make a replicant plant on the 3rd Moon of Poxima or wherever the fuck.
     
  19. Hassknecht

    Hassknecht For hate's sake. Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Aug 16, 2010
    I think it's more like they don't care too much about enacting any control over Earth anymore since it's overpopulated and polluted.
    Thinking about Soldier, it's supposed to take place in the Blade Runner universe, but it also takes place in 2036, so Nexus 6 replicants have been around for decades at that point. And yet, Kurt Russell as Todd has been in active service for ages by then and is only then replaced by what's clearly replicants, and they treat it as this new thing.
    Oh well, the movie is considered by the writer (who co-wrote Blade Runner) to be a sort of "spin-off sidequel", but it's not really anything official.
    Still a decent action flick.
     
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  20. TheGM

    TheGM The voice of reason

    Aug 19, 2008
    I'm sure some turbo nerd can or has explained the advantages of a raising a human from birth to be a solider like the warriors of yore, over a fake human grown in a bag.