The year 2019 is behind us which means the events of both Blade Runner and Akira are now distant memories. The present is what matters now, and thankfully game creators have already been thinking about what this year will look like, and be like, to varying degrees of failure. Here are a number of games that take place in the year 2020, and what they nailed and screwed up about current-day living.
What it got right: Beast Wrestler is an isometric wrestling game about beasts that wrestle. It imagines a 2020 where genetically engineered animals duke it out for the pleasure of onlookers. About the only thing it predicts with accuracy is that the moon still exists, but it cryptically warns, “Only the moon knows the future,” once you become the domestic Beast Wrestler champion.
What it got wrong: You can buy something called a “food gun” from the in-game store which is necessary to feed your beast. Those don’t exist in 2020, but I hope someone is actively developing it. The store also sells floppy discs which are hilariously outdated now.
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What it got right: Crysis’ story does not begin until August 7, so there are still a few months where these events could occur and its technologies could become widely available. That being said, so far, Crysis accurately predicts little about what the world is like in 2020.
What it got wrong: We don’t have nanosuits that give us super-human capabilities, and we haven’t happened upon evidence of an alien race that predates humanity by millions of years. But there is still about six months where all that can happen.
What it got right: John Romero’s 2000 FPS Daikatana is renowned for its aggressive marketing campaign and being disappointing. It doesn’t take place in 2020 so much as a major plot point occurs in 2020 so its inclusion on this list is admittedly questionable. It’s a time travel story about tracking down an ancient sword to stop a plague cure from being obtained by a tyrannical ruler, so it did partially predict how overpriced pharmaceuticals would be a problem in 2020. It also features a character named Superfly Johnson and a cursory Facebook search reveals that there is someone with that name living in Tallahassee, Florida, so congratulations on predicting that, Daikatana.
What it got wrong: We don’t have time travel capabilities, which is a major component of the story, and it opens with a virtual assistant actually responding to a character's voice commands without them having to repeat themselves which is absolutely preposterous.
Perfect Dark Zero
What it got right: The Xbox 360 launch game marketed itself in print ads with the text, “2020. Corporations control everything. With one exception.” And lo and behold, corporations do in fact own everything and it’s a real bummer. Protagonist Joanna Dark also carries a portable camera called a CamSpy for collecting evidence, which is now basically something every person carries around in their pocket.
What it got wrong: This is going to be a recurring theme here, but Perfect Dark Zero has jetpacks. Just about every game that imagines the year 2020 features jetpacks. Perfect Dark Zero also has spiderbots that can crawl around and fix things which is something I look forward to owning soon.
What it got right: Like Super Baseball 2020 (seen below), Raid 2020 is a game that calls its shot right in the title. It follows a man in a trench coat named Shadow as he fights drug dealers at various exciting locations like piers and warehouses. Drugs, piers, and warehouses still exist in 2020, so they nailed that, and it also predicted the proliferation of the modern gig economy as the police force seems to be outsourcing its efforts to contain the drug epidemic with freelancers.
What it got wrong: The game starts in an unassuming way with Shadow chasing down the drug lord Pit Bull (who is a lizard?) in seemingly normal locations like the aforementioned piers and warehouses, but he eventually acquires a jetpack, makes his way into space, and fights gigantic ants underground – all things we, unfortunately, can’t do or don’t have (yet) in 2020.
Super Baseball 2020
What it got right: Baseball still exists in the year 2020 and continues to be popular despite new sports, like Rocket League, being much more entertaining to watch.
What it got wrong: You can find YouTube videos of robots playing baseball as early as 2009, but it’s much more boring than you might think. In Super Baseball 2020, which released for Neo Geo in 1991 and later came to the Genesis, the players wear armor, have jetpacks, and the field is covered in an inexplicable grid. The MLB should really take notice.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time
What it got right: Somehow, against all odds, the Ninja Turtles are still very popular and continue to be an undeniable staple of modern pop culture. To imagine that the turtles would be still be teaming up and fighting robots in the year 2020 was a fool’s bet, but it turns out we’re the fools.
What it got wrong: Though some credit is due for predicting the popularity of hoverboards, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time’s Neon Night-Riders in the year 2020 level predicted they would actually be hovering. It also assumed it would be our main mode of transportation and we would use them instead of cars while traveling on the highways. As a result of their popularity, elevated highways would also feature intermittent sections of missing road that your average car would just drive off of and presumably explode. Buildings would also be bright pink, blue, and green instead of the drab blacks and greys we’re accustomed to and personal single-person helicopters would also be a thing.
Tom Clancy’s EndWar
What it got right: EndWar’s story is a complicated one that begins in 2016 and involves an energy crisis, partnerships between the United States and the European Union, space travel, temporary peace, and the formation of the European Federation – a collection of European countries that band together to become more economically viable than the United States. And that’s all in 2016 before things really get heated in 2020.
If you squint hard and simplify EndWar’s story down to the United Kingdom believing there is an economic advantage to rearranging its partnerships with nearby European countries then you have something that kind of awkwardly resembles Brexit. It’s a stretch, but it’s kind of, sort of a prediction that resembles a modern political issue. Don’t think about it too hard, though.
What it got wrong: The more exciting part of the equation is the sci-fi stuff that we don’t have, but EndWar does! Militarized space! Tactical high energy lasers! Exoskeletons for soldiers that give them enhanced abilities! Robots! And of course, microwave guns. We don’t have any of that.
These aren’t the only games that take place in 2020. There is also Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, which predicts animals will be participating in the annual games later this year.
Kyle Hilliard is a freelance writer for IGN and a co-host of MinnMax. Follow him on Twitter here.If you buy something through this post, IGN may get a share of the sale. For more, learn more.