Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Apocalyptic A to Z: Gamma World

No Apocalyptic A to Z would be complete without the grandaddy of all post-apocalyptic games, Gamma World. It first came out in the early days of roleplaying games in 1978 and was inspired by the great-granddaddy of post-apocalyptic games, Metamorphosis Alpha.

In Metamorphosis Alpha, players are unknowing passengers on a generation spaceship that has gone haywire. Residents of the world-sized ship stuck between the stars don't know they're on a ship, and it's up to the players to overcome various dangers, discover the truth, and save the ship. This idea has been used many times in science fiction in books such as Orphans of the Sky and TV shows like The Starlost.

Gamma World is more straight-up post-apocalyptic. The setting is Earth after the fall of civilization, where humans and various mutants struggle to survive in a harsh world of killer cults and mutated monsters. They also try to find and use high-tech objects from the past, everything from laser rifles to robots.

This game blew my mind in grade school and quickly became one of my favorites. I loved its gonzo science, where nuclear radiation creates all sorts of weird mutants. You could play a human, a mutant, or even a mutated plant! I always played the mutants, especially the mutated plants if the GM allowed. I mean, what ten-year-old doesn't want to be a sentient, moving plant that shoots poison seeds?

The game has endured and in 2010, Wizards of the Coast published a seventh edition. It's one of those old-school games like D&D and Runequest that never went away.

Did you ever play Gamma World? Tell me about it in the comments section


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I knew of it, but never played it. I think learning D&D was enough at the time.

Bob Sanchez said...

Alas, I never played it.

S. L. Hennessy said...

How have I never seen this one?!?! Adding to my list.

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