In 2009 Gearbox Software released Borderlands, an off-beat RPG-FPS game that quickly developed a following due to it’s quality game-play, cell-shaded graphics, and solid story. If you aren’t familiar with the story, it’s a short one: your character is an intergalactic mercenary who has come to a planet called Pandora looking for a vault that is suspected to be filled with alien technology that will make its finder ridiculously wealthy. And since the game made money, a sequel was pretty much guaranteed. In September 2012 said sequel, imaginatively titled Borderlands 2, was released to near-universal acclaim.
One of your tasks as you move through this world is picking up personal recordings left behind by various NPCs. These recording will help you to solve quests, grant you deeper insights into the characters, and provide exposition that explains why Pandora is the lawless wasteland it is. And, like all good science fiction, this filler content reveals a great deal about our society and our pessimism about our future.
Robots with artificial intelligence are everywhere in this game, from the barely intelligent loaders to the incredibly sophisticated programming of Claptrap, your annoying sidekick. This doesn’t even begin to to cover the spacescaft, advanced weaponry, and genetic engineering that is commonplace in the Borderlands universe.
The line between matter and energy has been crossed, and one can be turned into another with consummate ease. This is amply demonstrated by the vending machines that sell corrosive pistols, rocket launchers, and teleporting hand grenades.
And if you get killed? Don’t worry, because Hyperion corporation has terminals that can digitally construct you a new body complete with recent memories. As recent as your last appearance at a Hyperion respawn point, that is!
Star Trek transporters re-rigged to just generate a new body anytime the previous one is destroyed. Theoretical immortality since you can spawn a new version of yourself from any point in the New U system database. And if Hyperion doesn’t want that, their motto is “You don’t die until we say you do!”
The universe should be a paradise where anyone can grow up to be anything and everyone can prosper with no hardship to anyone. Instead, it is a nihilistic dystopia where scarcity of resources exists only through artificial means. Jobs are completely unnecessary as literally any human function can be done by a computer system, and energy limits have been overcome as evidenced by the ease with which machines and people can be digitally constructed.
And while it is easy to dismiss the idea because it came from a video game, it really wasn’t.