When we were young Back to the Future Part II showed us a 2015 that had flying cars, self-tying shoes, and hoverboards. Based on the state of the world today, that possible future was ruined by a time traveling Biff Tannen, because were two years removed and none of those advancements are on the horizon. Video games have been giving us the same kind of lies for decades, showing a not-too-distant future that never delivers.
These 10 releases all pushed forward the clock to a year where advanced technologies seemed attainable, and now the games are comically anachronistic. Do you remember a massive California earthquake in 2007, or being able to teleport in 2010? No, but these games sure seemed to think events like those and many more would happen.
Metal Gear Solid 2
The year: 2007
The Metal Gear franchise has been firmly set in the near future since the original Metal Gear for MSX and NES, but when the series shifted to Solid it went from speculative to pure science fiction. It was believable that mercenaries might band together to take over a small African nation. It was somewhat less plausible that a reanimated corpse could become a badass cyborg ninja. And Metal Gear Solid 2s vision of 2007 and 2009 is even more farfetched now.
By 2007 giant, missile-shooting robots are as commonplace on the black market as hollow point bullets. At the same time, the President of the United States/clone of Big Boss resigned, formed a paramilitary group, and then successfully conspired to kill his one-time running mate, the current POTUS. By the time a massive Metal Gear crashed into the center of Manhattan and the former Commander-in-Chief had a sword duel with pretty boy Raiden, virtually any connection between our world and MGSs had been severed.
Mega Man 2
The year: 200X
The year was later changed to 20XX, but players at the time remember that 200X as the true date. And if we recall high school Algebra correctly, the highest number X could be in this situation is nine, meaning (at the latest) Mega Man 2 takes place in a 2009 we hardly recognize. Simple robot A.I. was barely taking off then. Making one Robot Master seems impossible, let alone eight. Also, the title screen implies there would be tech to allow for helmets to teleport onto your head, something weve waited patiently for.
Mega Man 2s future is one where you cant take three steps without a robot flying straight at your face. And while its conceivable that an android bat could be created and instructed to only knew fly directly at the nearest person in blue, who would make such a thing? Same goes for the dangerous architecture that has dozens of disappearing platforms and bottomless pits with no guard rails. Mega Mans vision of 2009 might be the most nightmarish of all on this list.
Twisted Metal III
The year: 2008
The Twisted Metal series had always been set in the near future, and as far as we know, there hasnt been a car combat tournament tearing up the world since 2005. The original game destroyed plenty of Los Angeles landmarks, but that was just the start of the series destruction of California. The 1998 release of Twisted Metal III predicted Hollywood would be leveled by the Great Earthquake of 2007.
As any California residents can attest, theres always a fear of the big one, that huge quake that will sink the entire coastline, but 2007 wasnt the year for that. L.A. did get a 4.4 quake on August 9 of that year, but thats barely enough to wake most California residents from a nap. In Twisted Metals defence, it was always accurate in how frightening clowns can be.
The year: 2010
The new millenium was one where Americans faced real threats of terrorist attacks in major U.S. cities, particularly in Manhattan. In that way 1995 light gun game Gunblade NY has a surprisingly prescient plot of thwarting a terrorist threat to Times Square on July 25, 2005. Of course, both the news and titles like Rainbow Six lead us to imagine a precise, undercover response to a terrorist threat, not Gunblade NYs high tech helicopters shooting at everything that moves.
The arcade title handed players massive machine guns and tasked them with cleaning up terrorists one explosive bullet at a time. Times Square was basically empty save for the massive army of killers, but the sheer amount of property that the Gunblade pilots blow up along with their enemies has to nearly equal the damage the terrorists planned on causing. Still, well give the game partial credit being slightly right. Heres hoping the sequels setting of a 2025 L.A. filled with deadly androids is entirely wrong.
Street Fighter 2010
The year: 2010 (duh)
After the original Street Fighter, Capcom didnt seem all that sure about what it wanted to do with the would-be franchise. One year before Street Fighter II took over arcades, Capcom looked forward 20 years into the future to create Street Fighter 2010. The platformer reimagined karate expert Ken Masters as a super intelligent scientist who invents hyper advanced robotics. It gets more unbelievable from there.
The 2010 of Street Fighter has colonized planets, interdimensional travel, advanced robotics, and bionic upgrades that make the already strong Ken into an unstoppable killing machine. 2010 is a real hellscape in the world of Street Fighter, and the only thing we can blame it on is the worlds obsession with street fighting allowing for unethical scientific experiments. Later Street Fighter games completely ignore this odd divergence, but we like to think theres some alternate dimension where Ken saved the day and won a Nobel Prize in 2011.
The year: 2011
In the year 1993, we felt like we were entering into the future every time we played a CD-ROM game. Characters could talk, videos the size of postage stamps would play, and wed see these curious things called polygons. CD-ROM games were mind-blowing enough, but Millennium Auctions took players all the way into 2011 to show what the future would be like for rich people that buying expensive things.
The game put players in the role of a high stakes bidder of expensive curiosities such as Pres. Bill Clintons saxophone. That item is now just an artifact of a time when the words Clinton and blow only reminded people of his musical instrument. Players bid with a crystal ball and one competitor has a strange half visor/earphone attachment thats outclassed by the cheapest of todays Bluetooth earpieces. The games biggest misrepresentation of the future was its failure to predict eBay. The true future of auctions revolved around the far less classy search for Pez Dispensers and mint-in-box Star Wars toys.
World Series Baseball
The year: 1994
Not many sports games tried to predict the near future, though the deadline is approaching for a couple that gave it a shot. We may wish to see a Bay Area that looks like the one in San Francisco Rush 2049, or that Americas pastime will look anything like Super Baseball 2020, but neither are all that likely. However, theres at least one real sports game that was clearly wrong about the very near future of its sport, even if it is a bit of a cheat.
The original World Series Baseball for the Genesis was a huge deal at the time, mainly because it was the first game to feature all the real teams and players in the same title. As the name suggests, you can play a normal Major League Baseball season all the way till the prestigious World Series, which any baseball fan would tell you didnt take place in 1994. That year saw a strike that cancelled the World Series and hurt the sport for years to come. The Genesis likely hosted the most legitimate World Series that year.
The year: 2012
The original Assassins Creed was clearly meant to be the start of a long-running series, but the first entry has a number of issues that Ubisoft smartly adjusted in later sequels. One of the biggest was the setting. Released in 2007, the scenes with Desmond Miles were firmly placed in 2012, but tech such as the ancestor exploring Animus seemed fairly complex for just five years into the future, as did the city just outside the windows in the Abstergo offices. Both seem even more impossible today.
But the real out there prediction of the game was a pending apocalypse that would come in December 2012. It was a matter of months away in the games story, but far off enough for players that it seemed possible. But each annualized sequel brought players closer to 2012 without any resolution of the end of the world. Just as Assassins Creed III was in danger of actually coming out after the franchises predicted cataclysm, the game finally dealt with the end of the world, basically just punting it down the way with the promise of a much worse future for humanity.
Duke Nukem 3D
The year: 2007
We wouldnt ever say that Duke Nukem was an accurate portrayal of reality. There are numerous misconceptions about women, smoking, or the endless amount of urine that one man has--though Duke Nukem is right about the power of quoting They Live. But little did you know that the game also takes place in 2007, at least according to a calendar in the game (though some fans insist it takes place in 1998).
You could argue the availability of rocket launchers or that steroids could make someone run faster, but science has yet to perfect the shrink ray. The same goes for jetpacks, creating the perfect holographic likeness of yourself at a moments notice, or bases on the moon. Plus, the game predicted that Duke would still be relevant in 2007, when the release of Duke Nukem Forever was still years away.
The year: 1999
The book/Schwarzenegger film Running Man took viewers all the way to 2017, where America had fallen to fascism and the public watched deadly game shows hosted by Family Feuds Richard Dawson. While that vision has yet to come true, it inspired Robotron creator Eugene Jarvis to update that title's gameplay and send players forward to 1999. Players blasted the crap out of enemies while walking around a sound stage and collecting fabulous prizes to the delight of the live audience.
Its hard to deny Smash TVs surface similarities to shows like American Gladiator, but by 1999 viewers were less interested in physical game shows, preferring to watch people that wanted to be millionaires. Smash TV spin-off Total Carnage was equally wrong about two men invading a Middle East country, as the US was far more interested in Serbia at the time.
Tomorrow never dies...
So those games goofed when imagining the near future, but did we miss any others that failed to foresee any current events? Did you think the World Series entry was kind of a cheat? Let us know in the comments!