Show, Don’t Tell: Scarcity in Mad Max

Resource management is nothing new to video games. Survival games and RPGs have had players carefully manage their supplies for over a decade. However, Mad Max (2015) took that concept and ran it in a completely new direction. In the Mad Max franchise, the oceans have dried up, crops have withered, and the great machine of society has sputtered until it finally ground to a halt. The future belongs to those who control the last precious drops of water and guzzolene. By giving glimpses of a backstory and making resource management an integral part of the gameplay, Mad Max makes players fear scarcity both in the game and reality.

Mad Max Dinki Di

Sure beats maggots

In Mad Max, the player can only be healed by drinking water or eating food. Water is kept in an accessible canteen, but food can only be used once and always consists of either wild animals, canned dog food, or corpse maggots. Since the local warlord has deployed hundreds of his men into the dried seabed, Max will need to heal quite often. This gives the player a sense of risk over reward: they could waste their precious water to heal or they could explore the enemy camp a bit longer and hope they find some food before a murderous war-boy finds them. Continue reading

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The Complexity of Lord Humungus

Lord Humungus Rad-Lands

The Lord Humungus of Mad Max 2 is a perfect illustration of how an outwardly one-dimensional villain can become human through small details. Looking at The Road Warrior’s script, one would get the impression the Lord Humungus is just a means of creating conflict, but the visual medium of film allows this character to become two and maybe even three dimensional. Cleverly, director George Miller planned for this from the beginning by writing backstories for each character in the Mad Max franchise.

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