I was 10 years old when the Iron Curtain fell and therefore of that last generation who knew at least something of the Cold War. (I remember being told by a primary school teacher what to do in the event of a nuclear attack - I think it boiled down to getting into a bath and covering it with a mattress, or if not, hiding under something slanted like a conveniently placed door taken off its hinges and leant against a wall. Even at the age of 9 these methods struck me as somewhat unlikely. If only I'd seen the fourth Indiana Jones film - I would have known to just get in the fridge.) I even participated in a debate on the merits of Britain maintaining its nuclear deterrent at the age of 10 or so; as a young boy who liked drawing pictures of stuff blowing up, I was naturally in favour.
So although nostalgia is perhaps the wrong word, nuclear war does have something of an old-fashioned, almost retro feel to it that I oddly appreciate. It is as associated with my childhood as is Mr. Whippy ice cream, summertime ant plagues, football in the park after school, and fights with my sister. Something that was in the background and which we didn't think much about, but lurked there all the same. A very distant and very vague threat that manifested itself in news stories about the Berlin Wall, Ceausescu, Trident and Letters of Last Resort.
I've thought about post-apocalyptic gaming many times before, but never really played it - unless Cyberpunk 2020 counts, which I suppose it might. Perhaps another idea for GURPS. Ah, the possibilities, the possibilities:
- What would have happened if the Cuba Missile Crisis had kicked off?
- What would have happened if the Nazis had won the race to nuclear power?
- Some unlikely future scenario?
- The invention of time travel sees a temporal cold war a la Star Trek: Enterprise except good, finally resulting in nuclear apocalypse in the Age of Sail?