We Americans live in a stable country. We are not subject to civil war, starvation, disease, or poor infrastructure (potholes not included). We live in an enviable position compared to many people all over the world. So why are we obsessed with the end of society as we know it!?

Think about it: we love end of the world scenarios. We do! The History Channel has a program called Life After People. It’s a show based on what will happen to our nuclear weapons, buildings, and Twinkies after every person on Earth dies. The show is basically a detailed timeline depicting the breakdown of everything  that is man-made or dependent on something man-made. The show shows only the most cheerful images of dams exploding, buildings and brides collapsing,  subways flooding, domesticated animals breaking free and becoming feral.  Life After People is the most scientific approach we’re gonna get in this entry. ‘Cause from here on in it’s going down hill and into apocalyptic geek fantasies.

The nuclear apocalypse is an old favorite. Not the actual war itself; that’ll last all of 10 minutes which isn’t even enough time for me to grill my final meal of bacon burgers.  I mean the aftermath of the war – the whole “repopulate the earth scenario” . You know the one, where you’re living in an old Starbucks, with the one person from high school you wish had been vaporized ? That one.

Mad Max fits into this nuclear apocalypse category, and recently The Book of Eli and The Road are also additions. In video games we have Metro 2033, and Fallout. Three things I have learned from this Dooms-day scenario is 1)brown and grey will be making a big come back as home decor colors 2) water will be scarce and worth fighting for again and 3) apparently cowboy hats are going to be okay to wear again.

The other main type of apocalypse is the zombie apocalypse. Almost everyone knows what a zombie is and is convinced that they (and their friends) will survive. I dunno, someone’s gotta die, the zombies gotta be coming from somewhere. We have Zombieland, Shawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, 28 Days Later,Dawn of the Dead, and Planet Terror. Videos games? We love shooting zombies. No moral dilemma there. Even if there are zombie children involved (yes, I have shot virtual zombie children). Let’s see…Left 4 Dead, Dead Rising, Resident Evil, Plants vs. Zombies, and Zombies Ate My Neighbors. Games that primarily should have nothing to do with zombies…do have zombies. Like Call of Duty:World at War. The game is about America fighting Japan and Russia fighting Germany in World War II. There is a game mode called Nazi zombies. You shoot Nazi zombies. I don’t know if this makes them more evil or not, but here’s someone willing to ask the hard questions on this:  http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1928141. Even books like The Zombie Survival Guide and Day by Day Armageddon love to tell us about the collapse of society.

There are many other types of end of the world scenarios, like “Mother Earth is getting Even” (Day After Tomorrow, The Happening), biblical (Legion), and,  of course, aliens. Independence Day, Mars Attacks, the Invasion, War of the Worlds, Signs, and The Arrival. We always win of course, but never before Washington D.C. and Manhattan are blown to tiny bits. It also helps if the Statue of Liberty is destroyed on the cover of the DVD box. In video games we have Halo; this game series will never die. Ever. It will actually probably lead to some kind of apocalypse when they stop producing them. And lastly, the “machines rise to kill us apocalypse scenario”  is shown in The Terminator and The Matrix. Any future where Keanu Reeves is the one that saves us is a sad one indeed.

Whether its because we like to think about rebuilding society or trumping impossible odds,  there is  no end to the possible worst-case scenarios. And we will drink it up in video game , movie , or TV show form.  So, why do you think we love to think about this? And for a bonus, which apocalypse do you think you are most likely to survive and how would you survive it? Leave a comment on anything else (and yes I know there are many comic books, books, movies, and video games I didn’t touch upon).

For those who love shootin’ zombies, I present http://armorgames.com/play/269/the-last-stand