Question Weekend question: What game would you put in a time capsule for future generations?

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PCG Jody

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Dec 9, 2019
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I ask the PCG staff a regular Weekend Question and post the answers on the site. If you'd like to throw in an answer here, I'll squeeze the best into the finished article!

This week's question is: What game would you put in a time capsule for future generations?

Hundreds of years from now, after society rebuilds, they'll dig up our remains. They'll find our vinyl toy collectibles and our novelty coffee mugs, and they'll find our games. If you could pick one game to preserve so that it survives and becomes part of the historical record, what would it be, and why?
Everything is online now, even games that are 'ancient'. It depends: will the internet survive? Or will it not? If internet is not going to survive, then we should give them something to build on. We should give the next generation a genuine classic game, a game that so many people from 'our' time build upon. It must be a popular genre, IMO you can't send Microsoft Flightsim 3.0 in a time machine (sorry guys). The FPS-genre is an obvious choice. You can choose to send Doom Eternal, but then you're 'missing' 30 years of classic games. Let the future generation make a new Doom game. So the most obvious choice for me would be:

We should give them Star Citizen so they can finish making it. Only kidding! Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

My real answer: The Unity adaptation of Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall. No, it's not technically impressive, and is almost as buggy as its descendants, but it's one of the largest game worlds I can think of, and it had so many crunchy RPG elements, it bordered on the ridiculous (but in a way that I loved back in the day, and sometimes even miss).

Also, depending on when the time capsule is opened, perhaps it could coincide with the release of Elder Scrolls VI: Redfall - Enhanced Gold Complete Director's Cut GOTY Deluxe Holographic Edition (which I presume would be the fifth re-release of Elder Scrolls VI at that point.)
If it doesn't have to be a PC game, I think either the original Super Mario Bros. or The Legend of Zelda would be excellent choices. My personal vote would go to Zelda because it so perfectly captured the spirit of adventure and player agency in a time where such things were practically unheard of in video games. In my opinion it was truly revolutionary.

Sep 9, 2020
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So many of our games these days imagine a post-apocalyptic world in which some remnant of humanity is trying to rebuild. I'd include any of those games to show the future that many of us were aware that we were trashing the place we live and had great anxiety for the future of humanity and the planet. I'm playing through Horizon Zero Dawn right now, which includes many of the scenarios you mention (right down to an audio recording of a military officer chastising her troops for playing video games). That would be a great game for a time capsule. Also, The Outer Worlds, which highlights the devastation of life possible when corporations run absolutely everything. It's hard to say whether we're playing these games now because we're afraid that this kind of future is what's coming for us, or whether we're trying to expose the present reality we can't quite see.
May 16, 2021
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Smash Bros Melee. You needed a memory card. You actually unlocked characters by playing the game, instead of Season Pass/DLC. You got the full game at $50 and that was it. It's a cult classic. Not only that, you get to hate Nintendo because how much they don't care for this game.
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