With all reality aside, urban decay has been used on an extreme scale as settings and environments, or even events, in video games. Over the years, video games have used the decay of urban centers as a means for telling great stories. Whether the setting sets up obstacles, provides for cover, or is purely aesthetic, it has appeared in games for decades. In addition, rapid urban decay has appeared as events in games, as well. Sometimes this event is war, other times it stems from extraterrestrial threats, and many times, it is the result of governmental mismanagement. One of the most notable examples of urban decay appears in the critically acclaimed Final Fantasy VII, which was released for the first PlayStation game system. Far below the surface levels of the city of Midgar, there were numerous slums which were comprised of shantytowns and glorified livable junkyards. Buildings accurately matched the description of real-life shantytowns, being slapped together by rusty sheet metal and made complete by inadequate lighting fixtures. In these towns, the behavior of the lower classes matched that of reality: where residents essentially fought over anthills, and other possessions and amounts of money which were deemed petty by the rest of the world. Having been starved of resources, it drove the people to turn to lives of crime and other less-than-savory occupations. Turning elsewhere, other games, such as Half-Life 2 and Enslaved, illustrate dystopian environments and futures dictated by social exploitation. Provided here are a few examples of some of the most significantly impacting video games to feature urban decay over the past few decades.
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