This is a problem I have with any sort of post-apocalyptic world. If we’ve regressed back to pre-technology days, then nine out of every ten people need to be farming. Food is everythingWe’re assuming clean water is easily obtainable. Which it isn’t. Especially in cities.. What are these soldiers guarding? Why are we living in these cities where there are (apparently) lots of zombies and no food? Why are we wasting our precious fossil fuelsSpoiler: Gasoline apparently has a shelf-life of only a couple of years, even when stored in ideal conditions. Twenty years after the end of the world, all the gas is GONE. Sorry. driving solders around in humvees and huge troop trucks when we could be putting that magic labor juice into farming equipment? Are people STILL dying on a regular basis from random zombie bites? Why would anyone need to “smuggle” guns in a world like this? Is the government really trying to maintain an unarmed population? Isn’t everyone that doesn’t own a gun already dead?
Before we go any further: YES, I know there are in-game answers to some of these questions. But those answers themselves just replace one question with another:
- Who feeds ALL THESE GUARDS who produce nothing except corpses?
- The government feeds them!
- Where does the government get the food to feed the soldiers?
- Well, they… probably have taxes or something. They can take whatever they want!
- So who are they taking from?
- There must be farmers. Somewhere.
- The farmers need to outnumber everyone else by 9 to 1. Where are they?
- Probably out in the rural areas someplace?
- Wouldn’t that make them REALLY vulnerable to attack? I mean, if people are getting bit inside of these walled cities then it must be insane trying to grow food in fields surrounded by plants!
- Well maybe they guard the farms with soldiers.
- Why not take these soldiers from the city and have them guard – or work on – farms? Why is anyone bothering to live in these cities?
- Well they have to stop the fireflies from blowing up their checkpoints!
And so on. Everything leads down to this awful circular logic: The soldiers exist to guard the places where the soldiers live.
I’m not saying these are plot holes, I’m saying the world as presented requires a huge amount of extrapolation, hand-waving, and head-canon to survive scrutiny. I realize this stuff is just something that you have to accept when you watch a story like this. But I can’t help trying to think through it. The game presents you with a problem (how can humans survive?) but the world itself lacks the fidelity and sense to survive the analysis required to answer that question. Like, I wouldn’t be asking these questions except the game itself suggests they’re at the root of all the problems we see.
The game makes a big deal about finding a cure for zombie-itis, but all I can see is a society that’s shooting each other instead of growing crops. You could find a cure tomorrow, but you’d still starve to death.
I’m not going to sit here and nitpick the “But what do they eat?” business through the whole season. Once we get out of the city and away from the generic “evil government” stuff we can focus on the characters and their struggles, which is where the game is at its best.
 We’re assuming clean water is easily obtainable. Which it isn’t. Especially in cities.
 Spoiler: Gasoline apparently has a shelf-life of only a couple of years, even when stored in ideal conditions. Twenty years after the end of the world, all the gas is GONE. Sorry.
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Push the Button!
Scenes from Half-Life 2:Episode 2, showing Gordon Freeman being a jerk.
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The story of me. If you're looking for a picture of what it was like growing up in the seventies, then this is for you.