The Cold War, a geopolitical rivalry unlike anything else in human history. The potential conflict between the two global super powers brought the world close to a war that very well could have brought about the destruction of the entire human race. Naturally there would be an entire genre of gaming built around this conflict that is etched into the back drop of history.
Shadow President, a geopolitical simulator released in 1993. The game puts the player in the driver seat of the United States as a newly elected President. The game gives a vast number of options for the player to undertake as your plans for global domination are executed to your exact specification. The game allows the player to manipulate other countries into doing your bidding through a number of strategies like offering foreign aid and the use of military threats. As president of the United States you can even go as far as using the whole of the US strategic Nuclear reserve in wiping out any country on Earth. The game does take popularity into account, so if you do authorize the complete nuclear holocaust of another country opinion polls do not reflect kindly on those actions, who would have thought right? You have to consider popularity so that your president can be re-elected. The game has a smooth interface that I would compare to Civilization 2 but has greater level of actions of decisions that can be made.
Tropico offers the player Sim City like game play with the player being leader of a Caribbean island. The game takes a great deal of its setting and atmosphere from the Cold War era. Quick data dump. The Caribbean in the 1960s was one of the most volatile places on earth with the creation of a Communist State in Cuba prompting the United States to attempted a coup at the Bay of Pigs. The resulting tension sparked the Cubans to involve the Soviet Union which established medium range nuclear missiles sites. The United States responded with a blockage that brought about the Cuban Missile crisis that came within moments of setting off a nuclear war.
Back to Tropico, the game allows the player to create an island state that has an advanced economy based on the number of exports from your banana republic. The game allows the player to make a number of political decisions like accepting foreign aid from the United States or the Soviet Union. All of which can have an impact on your island considering the greater political implications of the Cold War. The later versions of Tropico allow the player to spec into a Communist or Capitalist command styles changing game play when it comes to maintaining power as El Presidente. What really defines Tropico is atmosphere the game gives the player the look and feel of the 1960s with the Cold War tension being ever present.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater puts the player in the shoes of former United States special forces and former CIA operative Naked Snake as you go on a dangerous mission to stop a rouge faction from sparking World War 3. Game play for Snake eater is made of the same stealth survival elements from prior Metal Gears. The game really creates a Cold War atmosphere. What defined the Cold War most was the back and forth between the United States and Soviet Union, not directly but in the shadows. Spies from both countries were constantly attempting to penetrate the other. Espionage was the main battlefield of the Cold War. MGS3 dives straight into the genre of the spy with each character having a deep back story that adds to the over all feel of the game. There are some characters that are a bit over the top but that has always been in the style of the Metal Gear universe.
Nothing really ever says Cold War like James Bond. The Nintendo 64 title has a special place in the hearts of many people. The game left a lasting mark on many gamers and has been remade because of its massive popularity among gamers. The game was the classic Cold War tale with spies turning on one another and massive shoot outs spontaneously breaking out because of the betrayal. The game defined a generation of gamers who will always look back fondly on the game. Remember there is a ton of history that at the time when many of us played it we didn’t fully understand. The game will always stand as one of the best Cold War games ever made because of its links to the iconic character of James Bond.
The single greatest Cold War themed game ever made has to be Battle Zone somewhat of a spiritual sequel to the 1980s BattleZone. The game takes the idea of the Cold War to a whole new level with a war being waged between the United States and Soviet Union, only in space. The space race was just a massive cover up so both countries could get huge numbers of troops and equipment into space to fight the conflict. Both sides discovered a new metal that made the creation of newer more advanced space based weapons possible. The game’s story and game play make it one of the best PC games I have ever played. I would also say that this game is unlike any other. Never before or since have I waged massive armor battles on the lunar surface or sniped a pilot out of his craft on the surface of Titan. If you have never played this game I highly suggest that you play it.