Home / Uncategorized / Golf Club Wasteland lets you play golf in the ruins of a climate apocalypse

Golf Club Wasteland lets you play golf in the ruins of a climate apocalypse

Igor Simić has always retained a penchant for dark comments about the world around him. One of his earliest games, Children’s Play, challenged the player to run a factory with children and keep them from falling asleep on the assembly line while a mutated teddy bear was criticizing sweatshops.

While recording music for Child’s Play, he met his future associate at Wasteland Golf Club, Shane Berry. In the break room of the studio, Simić first heard Berry’s voice and immediately cast him as a terrible teddy bear.

From there, the two began a working relationship that spanned several videos and short films, eventually becoming their first commercial attempt at a game with Golf Club Wasteland. She and her co-workers all started day jobs, so they started thinking of something they could easily do in the evenings after work.

Screenshots from the golf club wasteland

“I remember a couple of us watching TV and [Donald] Trump became more likely a viable one [presidential] Candidate, and it became a reality, “says Simić. And so does Bernie [Sanders] was talking about the 1% and somehow it all merged in my head and I realized, ‘When the earth is going through a massive climate catastrophe, from the perspective of someone like Trump who is a real estate agent on golf courses, that’s a clean slate because then the whole earth can be a golf course. ‘”

Their vision further merged in 2017 when a viral photo of golfers finishing their games as wildfire blazed behind them in Oregon made the rounds.

From Beacon Rock Hill Golf Course on Facebook

From Beacon Rock Hill Golf Course on Facebook

The idea of ​​a golf game also arose from their need for a less complex project. Simić tells me that the team never had the goal of developing a realistic golf game with Golf Club Wasteland. His developmental touchstones were simple: the minimalist golf title Desert Golfing, Worms, and an MS-DOS game called Gorillas, in which the player types in an angle and force to throw bananas at another gorilla in a city.

The finished product, Golf Club Wasteland, is a beautiful, immersive experience. It takes place in the post-apocalypse, in which almost all human life was wiped out. Earth is now used solely as a golf course for the ultra-rich who fled to Mars during the disaster that destroyed their homes. Its graphics are minimalist but striking, with courses drawn through demolished brutalist architecture with towering neon signs, roaming wild animals like bullet-kicking cows and a towering giraffe, and empty buildings. It’s a lonely game that is more about the easy puzzles to get a shot in despite all the destruction than a high score, though you can play to get to the finish in as few strokes as possible if you can want.

If you do well, it will unlock journal entries that give a glimpse into the history and world of Golf Club Wasteland, but even if you miss most of your shots, the music can be good at getting the vibe out. Golf Club Wasteland is tuned to its own radio show called Radio Nostalgia From Mars – a mix of stories, phone calls, public service safety bulletins and chilled music that underscores the devastation of the earth while golfing. The dissonance between its relaxing tunes, the strange government warnings, and the melancholy stories shared by the world’s residents are not only the perfect backdrop for golfing in hell – they’re an integral part of understanding the world in who you play golf.

Berry derived Radio Nostalgia from Mars from his own audio experience, ranging from membership in a death metal band at the age of 12 to DJing, a career in the Japanese underground techno scene, and commercial audio work. But the best fit for Golf Club Wasteland was his work at cable radio in Tokyo – producing radio shows that hit a few million listeners in cafes and grocery stores.

“We didn’t just have to produce all of the music [for Golf Club Wasteland], we also had to come up with a story, basically within the radio show, the world of what happened on Mars, “says Berry.” The premise is so absurd that we ran into it very quickly when we strong the radio show satirical or borrowed in the direction of Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams, despite its crazy premise it did not fit the pathos and reality of the game. It became very interesting to research the plausibility of this world and the reality of the madness of going to Mars. “

A chance encounter at an art exhibition in Frankfurt supported Berry and Simić’s desire to justify the absurdism of the Wasteland Golf Club in reality. There they met a woman named Janet Biggs, who had worked as part of the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, where scientists simulate what it might be like to actually live on Mars. They spent an evening with Biggs listening to her tell stories about her everyday life in the habitat.

“At that meeting, I realized that the reality is absurd enough,” says Berry. “We didn’t have to do anything other than describe what it really wanted to be on Mars, and that would be funny and humorous in itself and would give the game a kind of plausibility. The humor of the signs and the building tarnished with this plausibility of the radio broadcast that is somehow self-referential and disrespectful, but also prone to realism rather than the absurdity of the underlying premise. “

We can barely live underwater, and we can barely live in a desert for a few weeks without major problems … It won’t be nice moving to Mars.


As you can probably see, Golf Club Wasteland does not shy away from political issues and comments, in fact, it explicitly takes them up. Simić says they wanted to go far from anything that might sound like a sermon, describing Golf Club Wasteland as “anti-escapist entertainment” – it relates to real life, and climate change is treated as a fact of reality. for example. Berry adds that they also wanted to make it very clear that simply traveling to Mars to escape reality is not an easy option for humanity.

“We can barely live underwater, and we can barely live in a desert for a few weeks without major problems, and a lot of those problems come from being humans and emotional creatures … Mars,” he says.

Simić adds: “Maybe people could have something that could be taken as a punch line or a message or something like that in the stories in the soundtrack of Radio Nostalgia from Mars, the stories are mostly just normal people of different nationalities who wrote with me a reminder of their past life on earth as they tell of Mars, and in reality these memories are simple things like walking in the park, cycling in your neighborhood, drinking coffee, singing, dancing with friends in Havana, in Italy, in Berlin etc. So these are things that we have now, but the radio and the game try to make you think of things that you have now as if you have lost them forever emotional nature of the message. “

Golf Club Wasteland was almost difficult to sell for me as my daily life was saturated with alarming headlines about a dark future. I don’t want to pretend that the idea of ​​an apocalypse has anything reassuring, especially one that is inevitably presided over by the 1%. But the portrayal of Golf Club Wasteland had a seductive calm that worked for me precisely because it was incompatible with the subject. If the rich play golf on our ruins, it will be just like that – relaxed, carefree and carefree, like a ball rolls through a broken satellite dish, slips down the neck of an amused giraffe and lands with a soft flick on the ruined surface as usual.

Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.



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