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Memories of the Soviet era linger big, and their style can be seen in a number of video games.

The Soviet era was one of the most ruthless and terrible in the history of Eastern Europe, if not the world. Many of the enduring relics of this not-so-distant epoch still stand today in the form of propagandistic architecture and design rules, largely recognized for its corrupt politicians, mass genocides, and detrimental communist policies.

Art, owing largely to Lenin’s “Socialist Realism” aesthetic, was intended to “extend its deep roots into the very thick of the broad toiling masses.” And hence was not an exclusive celebrity vocation, as it was in post-modern France, for example. Many games continue to draw inspiration from this turbulent period of artistic endeavor, some more than others.

Tropico (Series)

Beautiful tropical beaches and palm trees are not normally the first things that come to mind when one thinks about the Soviet era. However, the Soviet Union was active in Central and Southern America in addition to the chilly, gray Eastern Bloc. And Tropico delves into this history with a particular sense of comedy in its renowned city-building game.

As El Presidente, players can dictate policies and support a variety of groups as they exploit their populous for resources and monetary gain. While players will have the option of pursuing capitalism or communism as a state policy. Several of the building styles plainly take inspiration from Soviet-era architecture, which still dominates locations like Cuba and Venezuela today.

No One Lives Forever (Series)

The Bond-style spy genre is parodied in this throwback FPS classic, complete with assassinations, deceit, and amusing Russian accents. Volkov, the series’ main villain, is a Soviet agent, and mission settings take place in historical locations. Including one in which Cate Archer, the series’ protagonist, must cross the Berlin Wall into East Germany.

Although the franchise does not take itself seriously and does not educate its viewers on history. This region of the game has a distinctly remembered oppressive vibe that poignantly harkens back to the era of widespread monitoring under communist government.

Command & Conquer Red Alert (Series)

Command And Conquer is a famous RTS franchise noted for its large-scale epic battles and futuristic designs. The Red Alert Series, in particular, concentrates on an alternate history in which the World Wars were fought between the Soviet Union and the rest of the world, rather than between the Nazis and the rest of the world.

The Red Alert series, complete with zeppelins, hovercraft, and humorous cutscenes featuring Tim Curry as a mad Soviet officer, was a true masterpiece in its time and is still cherished by fans of classic RTS and sci-fi games.

Syberia (Series)

The Syberia franchise, maybe one of the less well-known titles on the list, is a series of story-rich adventure games that follow the lawyer-turned-explorer Kate Walker and her excursions across the mysterious island of Syberia.

Though the game is mostly on more ancient time periods, indigenous cultures, and traditions, much of the design elements. Especially in more populous places, obviously take inspiration from specific artistic forms established across the Soviet Bloc.

Papers, Please

Papers, Please is unrivaled in the field of document-processing simulators. Players are entrusted with examining and processing possible immigrants into the beautiful Soviet nation of Arstotzka as a border-patrol officer.

Failure to do this mission might have serious effects, such as illegal drugs entering the country or full-scale terror attacks killing bystanders. Papers, Please was, for a long time, the most faithful simulation of Soviet life available to gamers, with a title that is literally a joke referencing the oppressive lack of freedom in the Soviet era, one that still resonates in many facets of life today.

Contraband Police

Crazy Rocks’ Contraband Police places players at a border crossing in the fictional Acarist People’s Republic. Expanding on the notion that made Papers, Please so successful.

This gritty, front-line labor frequently entails lengthy delays and suspicion of the innocent. As well as true incidents of money laundering, drug smuggling, and even full-fledged gang assaults on the checkpoint. Geometry Dash Subzero game is likely the most accurate depiction of Soviet working life fans have seen to far, and it serves as a reminder of the tough working circumstances endured by many Party members.

Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War

In recent years, the Call of Duty franchise has leaned heavily into the Soviet-era style. Giving some of the most accurate depictions of Soviet society and the deep state’s operations. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War seeks to shed light on the horrors of this historical period by casting one’s own “comrades” into gulag prison facilities, planting evidence, and manipulating people in any manner possible.

This painstaking attention to historical accuracy was a refreshing update to a series that had grown formulaic and profit-driven. And it absolutely nailed the look while also giving an honest critique of the Soviet nobility.

Stalker (Series)

The Soviet Union’s image now is not one of triumph and glory, as its propaganda would have you believe. The dramatic collapse of the Eastern Bloc following the Chernobyl disaster (along with many other factors) leaves behind a reminder of destructive arrogance and scientific endeavor pushed far beyond its proper limits.

Abandonment and deterioration are an unhappy reality for many former Soviet undertakings. And these failures litter what was the Soviet Union due to bad economic management. The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series investigates the ramifications of these choices in a post-apocalyptic hellscape. Compelling players to scout, loot, and kill in order to survive its post-Soviet horrors.

Metro (Series)

In a planet wrecked by nuclear war and inhabited by mutant monsters. It appears prudent to seek some type of collectivism ideology to preserve humanity’s survival. The Metro series captures the desperate mindset of an empire in full decline. With all of its previous triumphs and glories reduced to naught.

The Metro series offers a vision of desperate survival in which collectivism is probably the only way out, complete with massive scientific facilities, a gigantic underground network of Soviet-era railways, and all the music and drinking games one could expect of such a time.

Atomic Heart

Mundfish’s picture of a retro-futuristic utopia gone bad was so good that it was chastised for allegedly promoting Soviet propaganda. Despite depicting the fictional “science city” of Chelomey in all its grandeur on parade day in the game’s opening objective. It rapidly becomes evident that the game’s message is far more a warning about over-reliance on technology than an assessment of a murderous government.

If the artists, inventors, and governors of the USSR had all gotten their way. It seems a near-certainty that today’s world would look something like Atomic Heart.

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